The Celtics, playing without Paul Pierce, had enough to hold off Dwyane Wade and the Miami Heat last night at the Garden.

Frank Dell’Apa has Tony Allen making a big play on Wade with the game on the line, ensuring the Celtics victory. Mark Murphy has the Celtics making the needed plays in the fourth quarter – a welcome change from recent losses. Robert Lee has Rajon Rondo (22 points, 14 assists) taking the lead last night. Lenny Megliola the game bringing out the brilliance of Rondo and Wade (30 points, 13 assists). Bill Doyle says that it was Christmas day all over again for the Celtics. Jim Fenton has the Celtics looking like a happier team after this one. A. Sherrod Blakely has the Celtics playing their best defense in the fourth quarter last night.

Bob Ryan reminds us how old and broken down the Celtics are, and says that “if” Doc Rivers can get them to the playoffs, the schedule becomes easier on old bodies. Bill Reynolds writes the exact same column. Steve Bulpett has Doc Rivers reacting to yesterday’s piece in the Herald about the team chemistry. Gary Washburn pinpoints the Celtics struggles this season as “they aren’t winning consistently and have yet to gain cohesiveness because of injuries.”

Tony Lee says that Doc Rivers has worked wonders with his patchwork lineups this season. Paul Flannery has order being restored at the TD Garden last night. Chris Forsberg has Rajon Rondo’s play speaking volumes after his comments earlier in the week. Rich Levine has Rondo answering the challenge his own words created.

Bulpett has Ray Allen feeling better about his situation after a talk with Danny Ainge. Murphy has Paul Pierce with a sigh of relief after his foot diagnosis. Jeff Howe has more on Pierce. Forsberg has a look at the big play from Tony Allen late in the game. Peter May has Eddie House making a big contribution in Pierce’s absence.

Dell’Apa’s notebook has Kevin Garnett saying that the team’s “bickering” problems are now under control. Murphy’s notebook has KG saying that there is no “finger-pointing” going on with the team. Lee’s Celtics Journal has more on the team’s chemistry issues. Doyle’s notebook has more on Pierce’s sprained foot. Fenton’s notebook says that Pierce will likely miss tomorrow night’s game against the Nets as well.  


Daniel Barbarisi has Daniel Bard feeling comfortable with his role heading into spring training.

Michael Silverman has Padres GM Jed Hoyer backing off slightly from comments yesterday about trading Adrian Gonzalez.

Stephen Harris  and Mike Loftus both have the Bruins hoping that a change of scenery can change their fortunes. Kevin Paul Dupont says that the Bruins are not likely land Ilya Kovalchuk.

Mark Blaudschun and Steve Conroy have a look at Boston College linebacker recruit Kevin Pierre-Louis. Eric Avidon has coach Frank Spaziani putting some building blocks in place.