Monday, May 28, 2012
Celtics Systematically Fall Apart In 2nd Half, Heat Roll In Game 1 Of Eastern Conference Finals
After playing to a stalemate by halftime (46-46), the Heat ran away with it in the second half as they outscored the Celtics 47-33 over the final two quarters to take a 93-79 victory at AmericanAirlines Arena. Boston fell to 2-5 on the road this postseason.
As always with Miami, it was the LeBron James (32 points, 13 rebounds, 3 blocks) and Dwyane Wade (22 points, 7 assists) variety show. Poor Chris Bosh was left looking stoned on the Heat bench with his Nantucket worthy peach colored pants. The other sign that Boston had no lift is that complete stiffs like Shane Battier (10 points, 10 rebounds), Mario Chalmers (9 points) and Mike Miller (8 points) had solid games.
The C's closed out the Sixers-if you could call it that-on Saturday night, they flew to Miami yesterday and played the rested Heat who had two extra days off and the home-court advantage (they're only 35-6 there this season). LeBron outscored the Celtics by himself (13-11) as Miami took a 21-11 lead after a fugly first quarter. Boston played an excellent second quarter (35-25) and earned the tie at halftime. Sadly, the last two quarters went much like the first as the Heat started to run away in the third (26-15) and finished it in the fourth (21-18). All told, Miami outscored Boston 68-44 not counting the second quarter.
As you would expect with an older team, the Celtics' legs and energy deserted them in the second half. For the game, they missed 10 free throws (11 of 21), gave up 15 more rebounds (48-33) and 10 more blocks (11-1), so yeah I'd say that they were dead once they had to sit down at halftime (damn those extended breaks!).
Kevin Garnett (23 points, 10 rebounds) played very well with no Bosh on him but Paul Pierce (12 points) was invisible while Brandon Bass (8 points) and Ray Allen (6 points) were even worse than that. Rajon Rondo (16 points, 9 rebounds, 7 assists) finished with decent numbers but he was 8 for 20 from the floor.
I think most rational people would say that Game 2 on Wednesday night (8:30 p.m., ESPN) will tell us much more about this series and these particular teams. If the Heat roll again, they might very well be on their way to a sweep. However, if the Celtics win or even just make it tight to the finish, we'll know that they have a pulse.
I'd like to pat myself on the back for not mentioning until now that Boston was called for not one, not two, not three but four (!) bogus technical fouls in this game alone. It didn't end up having any bearing on the result but good lord, can NBA refs just stay out of the way for one playoff series? I know that's all we want. The Celtics will have enough trouble stopping the Heat on their own, they don't need to be worrying about that shady aspect of the games as well.