Blog Entry

Playoff Fix: Heat can slam door on Celtics

Posted on: May 10, 2011 11:58 pm
Edited on: May 11, 2011 12:54 am
The Miami Heat get their first chance to close out the Boston Celtics in Game 5 on Wednesday night. Posted by Ben Golliver.


One Big Thing: Destiny? Our collective denial could end Wednesday night. For months, we've been assuming, hoping and praying that the Miami Heat -- the new-look superteam featuring LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh -- wouldn't be able to pull this thing off, at least not immediately. They have no bench. Coach Erik Spoelstra isn't ready for the challenge. Too many injuries. Bosh was the wrong third wheel selection. Three star players can't overcome a team of five good players. Well, to this point, despite some ups and downs that we've catalogued in minute detail, we've been wrong. It's so painful to write that the keyboard is oozing blood.

The Heat have their first shot to get over the Boston Celtics hump ... and they've got a very, very good chance. At home. Momentum in their favor after an overtime victory in Boston. Rajon Rondo still limited by a dislocated elbow. Dominant home performances in Games 1 and 2 to turn to for motivation. The Celtics, one would think, won't bow out classlessly and disgracefully like the Los Angeles Lakers. But their clock is ticking loudly. The Heat seem poised for the next step.

The X-Factor: Boston's stuck between a rock and a hard place. Rondo is limited. Kevin Garnett has been up and down. Paul Pierce had back-to-back big games (27 points each in Games 3 and 4) but he can't match LeBron James play-for-play with the way James is playing right now. The great equalizer for the Celtics could be the three-ball, and that means one man: Ray Allen. Allen has caught fire just once this series, going for 25 points in a Game 1 loss. Since then, he's been uncharacteristically off, shooting a combined 11-30 (36.7%) from the field, far below his 49.1% season average. Miami has had its offense clicking much better at home (100.5 points per game) in this series than on the road (89.5 points per game). Given their bench's struggles, Allen's deadeye deep shooting is the most logical way for Boston to keep up amid a South Beach scoring frenzy.

The Adjustment: As expected, Spoelstra moved center Joel Anthony into the starting lineup for Game 4 and he was rewarded for that decision. While Anthony had just four points and four rebounds, he played 31 minutes and had two blocked shots. Both teams went smaller, ignoring Zydrunas Ilgauskas and Shaquille O'Neal, and that played to Miami's advantage in a big way because Miami's more athletic forwards -- James and Bosh -- were able to wreak some havoc. Miami dominated on the glass, 45 to 28, and scored 48 points in the paint to Boston's 32. James and Bosh combined for 26 of those rebounds.

Most importantly, Anthony helped the Heat avoid falling into big deficits in the first and third quarter, as had been happening when Ilgauskas started. The Heat did get behind 9-2 to open Game 4 but pulled back quickly to trail by just one point nine minutes into the game. Then, Miami actually went on a 13-4 run to start the third quarter. Anthony finished with a +/- of 0 which is a huge win for Miami, given that Ilgauskas finished with a -19 as the starter in the Game 3 loss.

The Sticking Point: Where is the world is Glen Davis? Boston's reserve big man -- who has been an X-factor in the past, even if he's a bit of a goof -- has been non-existent in this series, averaging just 3.5 points and 2.5 rebounds in 19.3 minutes. Compare those figures to his season averages -- 12.2 points, 4.6 rebounds and 31.2 minutes -- and you realize the magnitude of the loss of production and playing time. It's not like Celtics coach Doc Rivers can't use him, either. The trust factor just isn't there right now. Davis has look out-of-sync, off-kilter and low on confidence and the intensity of this series, plus the lack of an obvious defensive match-up for him on the Heat side, has made shortening his minutes a fairly easy decision for Rivers. A big surprise performance from Big Baby in Game 5 would be a much needed life preserver for the Celtics. Video: Here's's Ken Berger with a video preview of Game 5 with Lauren Shehadi.

Boiled Goose
Since: May 11, 2011
Posted on: May 11, 2011 9:52 pm
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Since: Sep 4, 2010
Posted on: May 11, 2011 6:45 pm

Playoff Fix: Heat can slam door on Celtics

Not really, it comes with the territory, time to move on to the next Eastern Power.

Since: Mar 28, 2008
Posted on: May 11, 2011 6:33 pm

Playoff Fix: Heat can slam door on Celtics

Tonight is the Boston Celtics season ender.

The death of the original Big 3 in Miami.   By a younger, hungier, more athletic Big 3.   Boston got old.  It happens to every athlete at some point.

Doc can be with his family.   Ray Allen and KG can go fishing.  Shaq can just go away.  

I bet you if the C's start losing tonight and the end of their season is obvious, they handle it with much more class than the lakers did.

Since: Aug 16, 2009
Posted on: May 11, 2011 6:28 pm

Playoff Fix: Heat can slam door on Celtics

   Davis was affected by the asinine trade involving Perkins and Nate Robinson. Some of his spirit left him I think.
Tonight is the night that Ray Ray has to come through with a big game. The Celtics have to re=group and consider the POSITIVES { with the Lakers out of the way, the Celtics can make it all the way - over the Bulls and then over the Mavericks.
   The only sticking point is the Heat. Can they win tonight?...and then again?..and then again?
Three games to win it all. Go celtics.

Since: Feb 8, 2009
Posted on: May 11, 2011 5:15 pm

Playoff Fix: Heat can slam door on Celtics

Celtics beat the Heat 3-1 in the regular season. Heat are beating the Celtics 3-1 in playoff hmmm which is better? Go Heat!

Since: Dec 4, 2007
Posted on: May 11, 2011 5:10 pm

Playoff Fix: Heat can slam door on Celtics

How will Kevin Garnett have a huge game? Bosh, minus Game 3, has dominated KG this whole series. Bosh is too much for KG to handle.

Since: Aug 4, 2010
Posted on: May 11, 2011 4:27 pm

Playoff Fix: Heat can slam door on Celtics

You wish.  Miami Heat all the way.  The Celtics have no chance.  Lebron James 37 points tonight, Dwayne Wade 5 assists and 30 points tonight, Chris Bosh 23 points and 13 rebounds tonight.

Hate Boston&LA
Since: May 4, 2011
Posted on: May 11, 2011 4:05 pm
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Since: Sep 21, 2010
Posted on: May 11, 2011 3:27 pm

Playoff Fix: Heat can slam door on Celtics

The Aging Celtics have absolutely ZERO chance of winning this game. If i was a betting man i would bet my entire life and all the money i had on the Heat tonight,

Since: Mar 5, 2007
Posted on: May 11, 2011 12:53 pm

Playoff Fix: Heat can slam door on Celtics

It will be a little sad to see these ageing players get blow out tonight.

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