Play Fantasy The Most Award Winning Fantasy game with real time scoring, top expert analysis, custom settings, and more. Play Now
 
Tag:Heat-Celtics
Posted on: May 1, 2011 3:37 pm
Edited on: May 1, 2011 3:42 pm
 

Rivers: Shaq out Game 1, will play by Game 3

Boston Celtics coach Doc Rivers says center Shaquille O'Neal will not play in Game 1 against the Miami Heat. Posted by Ben Golliver. shaq

The endless wait for Boston Celtics center Shaquille O'Neal continues. The 39-year-old center, who has seen just five minutes of action since Feb. 1 and missed the entire first round series against the New York Knicks, has been dealing with foot and Achilles injuries.

ESPNBoston.com reports on Sunday that Celtics coach Doc Rivers believes O'Neal will return no later than Game 3, which will tip on Saturday, May 7.
"He's getting very close," Rivers said. "Honestly, we had to actually make a decision today, so that's better than what we've had to do in the past. He's getting close. Maybe next game. If not, I would say for sure Game 3."
"He's getting there," Rivers said. "He tried to do some stuff, but he keeps getting really sore afterward. So we're just going to wait."
The site also notes: "The biggest hurdle appears to be post-activity soreness."

Without O'Neal, the Celtics will make due with veteran center Jermaine O'Neal in the middle and reserve forward Glen Davis, and sprinkle in some Nenad Krstic when necessary. The Heat aren't exactly loaded with talent at the five spot, but Joel Anthony is a presence defensively and on the glass while Zydrunas Ilgauskas is also an effective big body. 

On the season, O'Neal is averaging 9.2 points and 4.8 rebounds in 20.3 minutes. He appeared in just 37 games for the Celtics.
Posted on: April 30, 2011 8:02 pm
Edited on: April 30, 2011 8:10 pm
 

LeBron James: Talk that he's a quitter is 'corny'

LeBron James does not agree with the statement that he quit against the Boston Celtics in the 2010 NBA Playoffs. Posted by Ben Golliver. lebron-james

Who could forget one of the greatest playoff meltdowns in NBA history? After torching the Boston Celtics twice in the second round of the 2010 NBA Playoffs, then Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James pulled a disappearing act in his team's three straight losses to close the series. His Game 5 performance was by far the worst, when he scored 15 points on 3-for-14 shooting in 41 minutes, looking listless and disengaged throughout.

That performance led Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert to criticize James after he signed with the Miami Heat during free agency. Gilbert memorably said that James "quit" and that line of criticism was popular among Cavaliers' fans thinking during James' two trips to Cleveland this season.

On Saturday, one day before James' Heat are scheduled to face the Celtics in the 2011 NBA Playoffs, the Heat Index reports James' response to the idea that he quit last season.
"That's corny," James said. "I don't understand that type of stuff."
Last year's loss, however, apparently has given James extra motivation.
"It is personal," James said. "You don't want to keep getting beat by the same team; the same team sending you home to plan vacations."
James does all sorts of corny things -- the pre-game photo routine, his chalk toss, The Decision, wearing a head band on tilt to hide his receding hairline -- so he is an expert on this subject. 

In this case, though, he's essentially correct. Gilbert is the definition of corny. The comic sans fiasco. The misogynistic tweets about media members. The whole "barring LeBron's posse from the parking lot" incident. Corny, corny, corny. 

Plus, criticizing James' performance in the 2010 playoffs has run its course. That well of ammunition has run dry. It's so last year. He bounced back with an MVP-caliber season and is on a new team, one with its own flaws and issues to nitpick. 

And that's the beauty about this week's Heat-Celtics series. James can either get his revenge against all the critics by winning, or he can launch a whole new round of attacks upon his character and his abilities as a basketball player should the Heat be unable to get over the Celtics hump. 
Posted on: April 30, 2011 6:05 pm
 

Playoff Fix: No room to breathe with Heat-Celtics

Posted by Royce Young



One Big Thing: Does anyone else get the sense that Game 1 is really, really important in this series? Either way, a tone is getting set. Either the Heat make a statement that things have changed and they're ready for the Celtics or Boston makes one saying it's more of the status quo.

Heck, package it in even tighter than that. The first six minutes of this game could say a whole lot about it. There's going to be a real mental aspect to this series and every little play is going to feel extremely large. I still haven't wrapped my head around this just being the Eastern Conference Semifinals yet.

The X-Factor: It's Rajon Rondo. There's absolutely no doubt about it. Miami has no one to guard him and with him getting his feel and command back against the Knicks, Pat Riley and Erik Spoelstra likely haven't slept the last 72 hours. The good Rondo changes every little thing about this series. If he's keyed in, breaking down the Miami defense and distributing, it's hard to see how the Heat can guard Boston for 48 minutes.

The Adjustment: Would Spoelstra dare get creative with his matchups? Mario Chalmers was good in Game 5 for the Heat, but could we see a lot of Dwyane Wade on Rondo? Of course now you've got to account for Ray Allen, but I get the feeling Mike Bibby and Chalmers have a better chance chasing Allen off screens than they do slowing Rondo off the dribble.

The Sticking Point: The season series tilted 3-1 in Boston's favor with the one Miami win coming when Rondo was in his post-Perk funk and the Celtics slipping a bit as a team. Hard to really take too much from that. Except maybe that the Heat built some confidence. I mean, remember at All-Star Weekend when James Jones beat Ray Allen and Paul Pierce in the 3-point contest and said, "We finally beat you guys in something. " To that point, the Celtics were in their heads. Maybe just that simple regular season win has removed some of that doubt.

The Celtics conceded home court in this series with a poor finish. Not that Miami has a great advantage there (Fan Up, amirite?) but still, it's called "advantage" for a reason. Starting at home fresh off that win could be a big thing for the Heat. And with this first game, the first six minutes, heck the first possession being big, that could be the edge the Heat need to get started right.
Posted on: April 29, 2011 3:21 pm
Edited on: April 30, 2011 4:03 pm
 

Expert Picks: Eastern Conference Semifinals

Our CBSSports.com expert picks leaderboard and predictions for the second round.

Posted by EOB staff. 

After one of the best first-rounds ever, here's where we stand, prior to Friday night's Grizzlies-Spurs game, which is irrelevant, since none of us picked the Grizzlies, because we're not prescient or insane, and no one even thought they'd make it to a seventh game. 

Expert Scores
Expert Right Wrong Bonus Total
Matt Moore 6 2 2 14
Ben Golliver 6 2 1 13
Jamey Eisenberg 6 2 1 13
Ken Berger 6 2 0 12
Sergio Gonzalez 5 3 2 12
Royce Young 5 3 2 12


And here's our picks for the Conference Semifinals in the East. We'll have full predictions later. 


Posted on: April 29, 2011 3:05 pm
Edited on: April 29, 2011 3:30 pm
 

Celtics-Heat: The X's and O's

How do the Heat and Celtics match up on both sides of the ball?
Posted by Matt Moore




It was inevitable, really. From the moment the Triad formed last summer, the Miami Heat and Boston Celtics have been eyeing one another. The dominant team in the East doesn't like any team acting like they're in the same league with the defending champs, much less a team that hadn't played a single game together saying they're going to win multiple NBA championships. A 3-1 advantage in the regular series gives Boston the mental edge, but the Heat took the lone meeting after the Celtics traded Perkins and destabilized their chemistry. 

Playoffs are hugely influenced by matchups. Here's a look at how various matchups land in favor of the Heat or the Celtics. 

PG: The Celtics of course have a natural, traditional point guard in Rajon Rondo, a pure point, while the Heat largely use Mike Bibby and Mario Chalmers the same way the Lakers use Derek Fisher. James and Wade spend a majority of the time at point. 
When the Celtics have the ball: We don't have to talk much about this, right? I mean, Rajon Rondo is Rondo and Mike Bibby and Mario Chalmers are not. Defensively, the Heat won't match up either of their point guards on Rondo. Either Wade or James will try to check him. It's a testament to Rondo's ability that neither is able to effectively handle him. Even against two of the faster players in the league, and two of the better defenders, Rondo simply outmaneuvers either one. James isn't fast enough and Wade struggles with Rondo's agility. Off the pick and roll, a hard trap isn't effective, thanks to how quickly Rondo can move the ball Garnett for the pick and pop or to the roll man. There's not a great solution outside of bringing help and hoping the perimeter shooters miss. You know, Ray Allen not being considerably reliable in terms of outside shooting, all-time 3-point shooting record holder that he is. 

When the Heat have the ball: On offense, when the Heat go to Wade or James running point, Rondo will attack whoever crosses the timeline with the ball in most instances. Rondo can get backed down by James in the post, but that's something LeBron seldom does. Likewise, Wade can cross him over, but then you're looking at a pull-up jumper which you live with. It's not that Rondo's a better player than James or Wade, those guys will get theirs (unless Wade's nightmares against Boston continue) but Rondo's physical versatility allows him to guard the other well enough to guide them into the teeth of the Celtics' help defense. 

Wings: Going traditional "SG and SF" designations are largely useless here. It's true that Wade is listed at guard and James at forward, but in reality, both operate on the perimeter and handle the ball, while not operating in traditional roles. James is too on-ball to be considered a true small forward, and Wade's versatility causes the same problems. So instead we'll look at it from the perspective of wings.

When the Celtics have the ball: The hardest part about guarding the Celtics is their consistency in running their offense. They'e not going to blow you away with new sets. But they run what they run to such precision that it's near impossible to stop them. The biggest problem is chasing Ray Allen through screens. Allen will usally cut baseline to baseline through closing screens. The result is Allen getting open for 3-pointers while the defender is still trying to recover from brutal off-ball screens by Glen Davis and KG, and the announcers saying "How can you leave Ray Allen wide open?!" as if the thought of defending the greatest pure shooter (limited to non-ball-handlers who just shoot 3-pointers, please leave your MJ/Kobe debates at home, kids) never crossed their mind. Wade will be assigned to try and get through, but his body isn't built for the wear and tear. Mario Chalmers might be a better cover here, as Bibby isn't tall enough to defend in the first place and would get murdered on the screens. Chalmers needs to study tape of what J.J. Redick has done to get through those screens and he can't afford to lose Allen, even on broken plays or rebounds. If you take your eyes off Allen for a second, that's three points. 

Pierce is considerably easier to guard from a strategic standpoing; he's coming right at you. The problem with Pierce is he just knows his moves so well. James has historically done a pretty good job on Pierce. But when James goes out, there's absolutely no one to guard Pierce. James Jones can't hang with him on the drive or the step back. Mike Miller may do a decent job, but again, that elbow jumper's tough and when he throws in the pump-fake, that's going to be trouble. Pierce is also very adept at finding the trailer 3-pointer, and when the defense collapses off Rondo, Pierce is open.  It's the basic Celtics problem. Pierce is a great offensive player on his own. When he's used off-ball, it becomes even harder to stop him. James and he nearly cancel each other out at both ends. 

When the Heat have the ball: When the ball rotates to whichever one is working off-ball, Allen will take Wade, with the requisite help coming weak-side.  Pierce will take James. Help will be quick on the drive in both instances, and since neither has figured out how to move off-ball outside of transition, the defense will focus on the ball-handler. The roll man's defender on the pick and roll will show hard, with the other low-post defender rolling to cut off the lane. If the ball-handler cuts back, a third defender will be there. Essentially, the Celtics are well prepared for whatever attack the Heat have shown. There will be times when the Heat get open looks off of their athletic ability to get past the defense for the drive and kick, usually a jump-pass. When those occur, the Heat have to knock them down. You can't waste open shots against the Celtics. 

Down Low:

When the Celtics have the ball: Kevin Garnett normally isn't a threat in the post. He doesn't have the muscle left to deal with the contact against most power forwards. Except Chris Bosh. He can pretty much do whatever he wants there. Bosh has to hold on his own, because the Heat can't afford to double in the post with the other weapons on the floor for Boston. The best option might be to give Joel Anthony a run on Garnett and risk the inevitable fouls. Anthony will struggle with Garnett at the elbow, but you've got to live with it somewhere. 

When the Heat have the ball: Bosh has played pretty aggressively in the playoffs and through the last month of the season. But against Garnett, it's just not a good matchup for him. Glen Davis is a better matchup for him, where Bosh's length will allow him to go to the mid-range. Off the pick and pop, Bosh has to have a quick trigger and good aim. Bosh has to completely change this dynamic for the Heat to win. 

Centers: The Heat have aging centers with diminished skills and a poorly coordinated young player with questionable decision making on offense. The Celtics have aging centers with diminished skills and a poorly coordinated young player with questionable decision making on offense. It's a wash. 

These matchups look like they favor Boston for a reason. But that's dependent on the Triad not being able to counter Boston's defense. If LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, and Chris Bosh are able to put in performances worthy of their reputations, the Heat can overwhelm Boston, especially without Perkins. From a strategic standpoint, the Heat are clearly the underdogs, but their whole approach has been to overcome with talent. They'll need to do the same to get to the Conference Finals. 
Posted on: April 10, 2011 7:43 pm
 

Dwyane Wade breaks through Celtics funk

Dwyane Wade had some voodoo haunting him vs. Boston this season. He broke through that Sunday and helped the Heat finally topple the mighty Celtics
Posted by Matt Moore

The problems hadn't been isolated to any one area. It wasn't just shooting, or handle, aggression or defense. It had been systemic and hit had been downright spooky.  Shots would rattle 9/10ths of the way down, then pop out. His usual control on drives would be undermined by him dribbling the ball of his foot. Instead of snaking smooth kick-outs to shooters, he'd jump-pass wildly into the hands of the opponent. Instead of sprinting to run off a shooter, he'd watch as he calmly knocked down a three. 

Dwyane Wade was snakebit against the Celtics. 

In the first three games against Boston, Wade averaged 12 points per game on a combined 12 of 45 shooting. He shot 27 percent from the field across the three games, and 20 percent from the arc. He only grabbed 3.3 rebounds per contest, and dished just 4.3 assists while turning the ball over 6 times per game. A lot of it was the Celtics' notorious defense doing their thing. But part of the function was worse, it seemed that the Celtics were inside Wade's brainstem, filling him with frustration and self-doubt. 

On Sunday, Wade turned all that around in a 100-77 win over the Celtics. 

While LeBron James was the MVP of the day with 27 points, 7 assists and 5 rebounds, Wade was a huge difference maker. Wade only scored 14, but had 5 rebounds and 8 assists, while cutting the turnover rate in half with only 3. He made what may have been the play of the game with a huge block in transition on Ray Allen. It epitomized the kind of effort the Heat finally gave against the Celtics which they had needed in all three of the previous contests. Wade closed hard on the perimeter kick-outs to Allen, bothering him just enough into a 4 of 9 shooting night. 

Wade is more than just his usual part of the Big 3 against Boston. He has the ability to create off the dribble, which is essential to disrupting Boston's spacing. 

He finished just 4 of 12 from the field, but was 6-6 from the line, and more importantly, was aggressive. That's the story against Boston, and it has to be should the Heat find themselves against the men in green in the second round. There cannot be hesitation or caution. There must be reckless abandon, and Wade worked in tandem with the Heat to create that attitude on Sunday. It was contagious, as Chris Bosh had one of his strongest games as a member of the Heat, finishing tough after fouls and making a huge block to cue another fast break opportunity for Miami. Wade and James failed to connect several times on alley-oops, but the message was clear. The Heat were not going to stop in this one, were going to continuously attack the Celtics, and with the new construction of the Celtics trying to figure itself out, and after a long regular season that has left the Celtics weary, they had no answer. 

Wade didn't dominate on Sunday, nor did he explode. He simply played effectively, got his teammates involved, and set the tone. 

Oh, yeah, and he finally got the win. 
 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com