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Tuesday, May 10, 2011

It was fun while it lasted

It doesn't get much more painful than last night's 98-90 overtime loss for the Celtics to the Heat. Miami takes a 3-1 lead in the Eastern Conference semifinals and has a chance to close out the Big 3 tomorrow night in South Beach.

With its home crowd at TD Garden going nuts, Boston had a chance to win it at the end of regulation but a screwed up play led to Paul Pierce's (27 points, 8 rebounds) hopeless fadeaway jumper that rimmed out.

That was the Celtics' season right there and on a bigger scale, it means that a crazy offseason (with tons of roster turnover) is now days away.

Miami dominated in overtime (12-4) as the Celts were out of gas and realized that they were done this season and perhaps for a long time moving forward.

The Heat's Big 3 of LeBron James (game-high 35 points, 14 rebounds), Dwyane Wade (28 points, 9 rebounds) and Chris Bosh (20 points, 12 rebounds) owned the game and they've owned the series as a whole.

Ray Allen had a quiet 17 points while Kevin Garnett was held to seven points (1 for 10 shooting) and 10 rebounds. It was hard to believe that KG was the same guy that had 28 points and 18 rebounds in Boston's Game 3 win. With that guy, the C's had hope. If he plays like he did last night, it's over in Game 5.

Rajon Rondo played and showed more heart but he was undoubtedly affected by his left elbow (which was dislocated then popped back into place on Saturday night). He had 10 points and five assists.

Delonte West has been Boston's only bench player that has stepped up in the pressure cooker that is known as the NBA playoffs. West had 10 points and three steals while Jeff Green (7 points) and Glen Davis (4 points) continued to be enigmas. Green has already established himself as completely unpredictable but what has happened to Big Baby in the playoffs? He was great for most of the regular season but now he's a puddle that can't seem to do anything right.

Nobody else on the Heat put up more than four points but who cares? It's the NBA and this team is showing that three stars and a bunch of bums can get it done (so far).

This was truly a game that the Celtics let slip away as they led 31-28 after the first quarter and as much as 11 in the second quarter before settling into a 53-50 halftime advantage. Boston won the third quarter (20-19) barely but Miami tied it up in the fourth (17-13) when it turned into a tractor pull of a defensive struggle.

For the game, the Heat shot 44.3% to 42.9% for the Celtics. Boston hit two more 3-pointers (5-3) but Miami snatched an unforgivable 17 more rebounds (45-28). The Celts had five more assists (15-10) and six more fast break points (15-9) but the younger, hungrier Heat pounded it inside to the tune of 48-32.

I have tomorrow night off from work so I'm ready to devote my full attention to the Celtics' last gasp effort to try and extend this series. In my heart of hearts, I think if Boston can win Game 5, they can definitely win Game 6 at TD Garden but let's not get ahead of ourselves. Game 5 is all that matters and the Celtics have to prove they can win in Miami before the Heat can start sweating.

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