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Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Is this how the Big 3 will go out?

In my heart of hearts, I knew that the Boston Celtics were on their last legs entering these playoffs but I had hope that they could beat the Miami Heat and then we'll see what happens from there.

Well two games in Miami have gone by and I'm about ready to write the obituaries for Boston's Big 3. The Celtics look old and washed up while the Heat look hungry and way too athletic.

The Heat are up 2-0 in the Eastern Conference semifinals after a 102-91 win at AmericanAirlines Arena last night.

Please don't cry to me about the referees, because Boston didn't deserve to win either game. Miami now has won three straight games over the Celtics (including their last regular season meeting) with Game 3 taking place Saturday night at TD Garden.

LeBron James was the star in Game 2 for the Heat with a game-high 35 points and seven rebounds while Dwyane Wade had 28 points and eight rebounds. Even Chris Bosh had a double-double with 17 points and 11 rebounds.

Combined, the Big 3 teamed up for one less point that LeBron. Simply put, that's never going to work if Boston wants to climb out of this hole (which they've never faced in the Big 3 era).

Kevin Garnett had 16 points, Paul Pierce scored 13 points and Ray Allen was held to seven points on 2 of 7 shooting. Rajon Rondo led the Celts with 20 points and 12 assists but they'll never win when he's the leading scorer.

At various points, Pierce (Achilles), Allen (chest) and Rondo (back) all left the game with injuries. This is getting tough to watch.

Boston's bench outscored Miami's 27-12 led by Jeff Green (11 points) and Delonte West (10 points) but it didn't matter since the Heat starters were so much better than the Celtics.

The game was actually tied at 80 in the fourth quarter before Miami went on a 14-0 run to close out the contest and possibly the series.

Miami led 27-26 after the first quarter and 47-42 at halftime. Both teams scored 25 points in the third quarter before the Heat made it happen in the fourth quarter (30-24).

The Heat shot 45.3% to 43.0% for the Celtics. Miami made one more 3-pointer (7-6) and ten more free throws (27-17). The Heat also had six more rebounds (44-38) but Boston had three more assists (18-15). Most telling to the gap in athleticism and defensive intensity, Miami had seven more blocks (9-2).

For all intents and purposes, Game 3 could be the swan song for the Big 3. If they lose, it's clearly over and who knows what next season will bring for the team and head coach Doc Rivers. You have to believe that they will turn out a much better performance in front of the home crowd, with their playoff lives on the line. Then again, this hasn't been the prideful group I knew so far in the first two nightmare games in Miami.

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