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Monday, May 2, 2011

Heat decide to show up, Celtics basically don't in Gm. 1 of Eastern Conference semifinals

I was at the Red Sox-Mariners game yesterday afternoon so I wasn't able to watch Game 1 of the Eastern Conference between the Boston Celtics and the Miami Heat live. Still, this being 2011 I couldn't help myself (even though I was recording it on DVR) and had to check the score on Twitter and my phone plus look at the TVs in the bars on Landsdowne Street as we walked down the street.

I listened to the end of the game on the radio as I drove home, took some time to decompress then finally sat down and watched it. One word comes to mind: yuck.

The Heat rolled to a 99-90 win at AmericanAirlines Arena in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference semifinals.

Dwyane Wade had a game-high 38 points but the key in the win was James Jones. The sharpshooter off the bench (the 2011 3-point champion at the All-Star Game) had 25 points. LeBron James had 22 points while Chris Bosh (7 points, 12 rebounds) continued to be one of the biggest frauds in the NBA.

Ray Allen led the Celts with 25 points, Paul Pierce had 19 points and Delonte West had 10 points. Rajon Rondo (8 points, 7 assists, 7 rebounds)-who was saddled with three fouls early-and Kevin Garnett (6 points, 8 rebounds) were both basically non-factors. Jermaine O'Neal and Jeff Green each added nine points.

An NBA playoff game wouldn't be complete without WWE style posing and theatrics. Yesterday, that meant Pierce would get booted out of the game in the fourth quarter on a bogus technical. He picked up the first one after jawing with Jones after a foul. A minute later, Wade ran into him on a hard screen and more yelling commenced. Pierce must have said all of George Carlin's seven words as he got tossed.

The first technical (which went to both players) was an easy one. I agree that the second one was completely ridiculous but Pierce has to know better than to go crazy like that for no reason. Boston wasn't going to make a full comeback anyway but seeing their captain get ejected meant it was really over.

The only bright side for the Celtics is that the Heat could never fully put them away when they had countless opportunities to do so. Boston had every reason to get blown out but it just didn't materialize. It was well chronicled that during the regular season, Miami was terrible in the fourth quarter of close games so they should have that hanging over their heads until they change that perception in the playoffs.

Miami led 20-14 after the first quarter and 51-36 at halftime. The Celtics outscored the Heat 26-25 in the third quarter and 28-23 in the fourth quarter.

For the game, Miami shot 47.1% to 42.7% for Boston. The Celtics hit three more 3-pointers (12-9) but the Heat made 12 more free throws (26-14). Surprisingly, Miami made five more blocks (8-3).

Game 2 is tomorrow night and the Celtics have never trailed by two games in playoffs during the Big Three era. Therefore, Game 2 is a telling barometer for what to expect in this series.

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