Final: Heat 98, Celtics 79; Series tied 3-3

Even with a trip to the NBA Finals one win away, the Celtics just didn’t show up Thursday night. They trailed by 10 after one quarter, and never played with the sense of urgency that’s needed for a close-out game. Paul Pierce had an abysmal night, going 4-for-18 for eight points. Rajon Rondo led the way with 21 points and 10 assists, but also had seven of the Celtics’ 13 turnovers.

Boston is now 11-14 in close-out games in the new Big 3 era.

LeBron James never really gave the Celtics a chance, as he poured in 45 points on 19-for-26 shooting to go with his 15 rebounds and five assists. Dwyane Wade got involved early in the fourth, finishing with 17 points and eight rebounds.

At least the crowd, or what was left of it, was into it as the game came to a close. All those that remained started a “Let’s Go Celtics” chant for the final two minutes. It was like Boston had 100’s of “Good Job, Good Effort” kids in the crowd. But at least the Celtics are heading off to Miami knowing there is still plenty of “Celtic Pride” after their effort — or lack there of — in Game 6.

Hope your Saturday night is free.

Fourth quarter, 4:26, Heat 90-70: Sean Williams and Sasha Pavlovic just checked in for the C’s. That is all….

Fourth quarter, 7:43, Heat 87-64: The Heat now lead by 23 points and fans are fleeing to the exits. That’s about all you need to know.

Fourth quarter, 10:18, Heat 81-63: We won’t say it’s over exactly, but let’s just say you might want to keep your Saturday night free.

Shane Battier just hit a wide open corner 3-pointer to stretch the Heat lead to 18, and things are looking grim for the Celtics inside the Garden right now.

End of Third, Heat 74-61: The Celtics were even with the Heat in the quarter, which isn’t going to do them much good if they do that in the fourth.

LeBron is now up to 41 points with 10 rebounds. Paul Pierce has just six points on 3-for-16 shooting. LeBron has missed less shots than Pierce has hit…

Boston is just 1-for-11 from three-point land.

Maybe Bluto’s speech from Animal House will get them going. They’ve tried everything else…

Third quarter, 2:09 Heat 72-61: There is some life to the Celtics offense, finally.

Rondo caught LeBron sleeping to put back a Pierce miss, with LeBron getting called for a technical after the play. Ray Allen sank the free throw, as the Celtics picked up three free points.

But LeBron can’t miss. He’s now 16-for-21 for 39 points.

Ray Allen answered LBJ’s bucket with a jumper to cut it back to an 11 point game. The C’s offense is starting to flow, but they need to mix in some stops and put together a solid run to let some doubt creep into Miami’s heads.

Third quarter, 8:36, Heat 60-48: The crowd was ready to explode for a Paul Pierce 3, but the shot caught back iron. Fortunately for the home team, Brandon Bass was there to collect the rebound, slam it home and hang on the rim for a little extra oomph.

The dunk got the crowd alive, but it’s going to take more than that to cut this lead to a manageable number. LeBron James almost can’t miss no matter what he throws up tonight, and the C’s have yet to establish any sort of offensive rhythm, though KG has a couple easy lay-ins thus far.

KG also got called for a technical foul for flipping the ball at Battier a little too aggressively for the official’s liking.

Halftime, Heat 55-42: The Heat have a 13 point lead, thanks in large part to LeBron James scoring 30 points. He had more misses from the free throw line (5-for-9) than the field (12-for-14).

The Celtics did not close the half well, with Brandon Bass going over-aggressively for a Rondo layup miss and foul Dwyane Wade with 0.3 seconds left. Wade hit both freebies to give the Heat a 13 point halftime lead.

Rondo is leading the way for Boston with a very aggressive 19 points. Brandon Bass and KG each have eight, while the Celtics have yet to get any production from their bench (aside from that Dooling assist on the Ray 3).

The Celtics have to get Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett going in the second half. The two went just 5-for-12 in the first half.

Second quarter, 1:48, Heat 48-40: Very aggressive string of events as the first half draws to a close. KG set a bruising screen on Shane Battier to open the lane for a Rondo layup.

Rondo then went down hard at mid-court courtesy of a Mario Chalmers foul. Rondo stayed on the ground, long enough to do a few push-ups. He took the line to “MVP” chants, but missed his first. He sank the second to bring the Celtics within eight.

Second quarter, 2:58, Heat 45-35: The Celtics are having a tough time establishing any offensive rhythm.  It doesn’t help that Paul Pierce picked up his third foul with 5:40 to go and had to be replaced by Mickael Pietrus, but give the Heat credit; they (or LeBron) is going to the hoop and earning his trips to the line.

Boston is 15-for-30 from the floor, but their nine turnovers have led to eight Heat points.

If the Celtics can keep it around 10, they are only one run away from getting right back in it.

Second quarter, 8:19, Heat 36-23: Plenty of Patriots at the game tonight. The crowd went wild when they started off showing Jerod Mayo on the jumbotron. Vince Wilfork, Deion Branch, Donte Stallworth, Rob Gronkowski, Aaron Hernandez and Ross Ventrone are in attendance. The crowd went wild when they showed owner Robert Kraft followed by Bill Belichick, and then put them side-by-side on the split screen.

Robert Parish though got the loudest ovation, along with a “Chief” chant.

Second quarter, 9:40, 30-23 Heat: Keyon Dooling had a wide open lane to the basket, one that most players would have taken. Most players, though, don’t have Ray Allen waiting in the corner.

So Dooling, at full speed, hit a wide-open Allen, who set himself and banged home the corner 3. That cut the lead to seven, and the Garden is louder than it’s been since some lady took off her wig while dancing to “I Like To Move It” during a timeout.

End of first quarter, 26-16 Heat: LeBron James has 14 points. The Boston Celtics have 16. That about sums it up right there.

It wasn’t the Celtics’ worst quarter of the series, but it wasn’t their best. Once KG left roughly five minutes into the game, the Heat went on a run.

That was to be expected though. The crowd’s still into this one and is ready to explode if a few shots start falling.

First quarter, 2:28, 22-14 Heat: When Kevin Garnett comes out of the game, things just get ugly for the Celtics — on both ends of the floor.

The Heat took advantage, building a 10-point lead. Rondo took charge though, driving to the net and throwing in an impossible bank shot while getting fouled by Chalmers. He’ll be on the line after this timeout looking to cut that lead to seven.

First quarter, 5:29, 12-8 Heat: Things just got a little feisty, as Mario Chalmers and Ray Allen got tangled up underneath the basket. Chalmers was called for a personal foul and a technical foul. That hurts for obvious reasons, but also because it bailed the Celtics out of a truly pitiful possession that had Brandon Bass trapped helplessly under Shane Battier.

Battier’s been the leading scorer thus far with five points.

First quarter, 12:00: Kevin Garnett wins the tip back to Rajon Rondo, and the game is under way here at the Garden.

BOSTON (CBS) — A few months ago, or even a few weeks ago, very few folks in Boston would have thought this to be possible. But here we are at the TD Garden for Game 6 of the Eastern Conference finals between the Celtics and Heat.

The Celtics will look to use the energy from the amped-up home crowd to take this series tonight. That likely won’t be an easy task though, as the Heat are still a dangerous team.

Check back with the live blog throughout the night. We’ll have updates from inside what is sure to be a crazy atmosphere inside the TD Garden.

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