MIAMI (AP) — Over the past 20 postseasons, no one has averaged more points against the Boston Celtics than Dwyane Wade, and no one has a bigger scoring total against them than LeBron James.
The numbers show they've been individual matchup nightmares.
Putting them together, well, the Celtics haven't figured out how to handle that. They're running out of time.
Wade is averaging 33 points so far in Miami's Eastern Conference semifinal series against the Celtics, James is averaging 28.5, and those simply are the two biggest reasons why the Heat are out to a 2-0 lead in the best-of-seven Eastern Conference semifinal series. Game 3 is Saturday night in Boston.
Even the Celtics are tipping their caps to Wade and James at this point.
"You've got to give Miami the credit," Celtics forward Glen Davis said. "They have been playing terrific. Their stars are being stars. Wade and James are willing their way to a win. Point blank."
This series was touted as a Big 3 vs. Big 3 matchup, the Heat group of Wade, James and Chris Bosh against Boston's longtime core of Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen.
It's been one-sided so far.
Wade and James have scored more points (123) than Pierce, Garnett, Allen and Rajon Rondo (114) in the first two games combined - and that doesn't take into account the 24 points and 23 rebounds put up by Bosh.
"At this time of the year, you've got to do whatever it takes, honestly," said James, who has 405 points in his postseason career against Boston. "Like D-Wade, when you're a competitor, you know you're going to have to play both sides of the floor. There's no easy way out in the playoffs."
Miami knows Game 3 will be its biggest challenge yet, in a season filled with plenty of tough tests already.
"The series is just starting," Wade said. "We've got to go up there like we would if we were starting on the road, and be like, 'Let's go get one right now.' So our focus is on Game 3 and making sure that we're even better than we were at home."
Celtics coach Doc Rivers said center Shaquille O'Neal likely will return Saturday night from a right calf injury.
O'Neal had missed 27 games with a sore right leg. He returned on April 4 against Detroit but lasted 5 minutes, 29 seconds before leaving with the calf problem.
Rivers said that barring a setback, O'Neal will play but won't start.
O'Neal played 37 games this season, averaging 20.3 minutes, 9.2 points and 4.8 rebounds.