Some notes on the game
Still too early for Miami. They are nowhere near where they are capable of being come the close of the season.
So, too early to read into the result … but there are other smaller issues to discover.
Boston is easily the best team in the NBA at the moment. With Shaq in the lineup, they should win this game comfortably enough.
#1 — Dwyane Wade has been killing Miami here in the first half. Some terrible decisions offensively and poor defense.
#2 — Eddie House had a nice scoring run with 9 points late in the first quarter but he gave up just as much, if not more, on the other end of the floor. He got caught twice against Pierce an Ray on switches, gave up baskets, gave up dribble penetration from Nate Robinson too easily on another two possessions and made a bad closeout on Nate’s triple to start the second quarter.
#3 — The Heat have been much better with Big Z on the floor but part of that has been his freakishly good jump shooting from 16-22 feet. That shooting is unlikely to hold up and when it goes, Big Z’s effectiveness will decline considerably. Still, he’s showing some life out there for Miami … both tonight and to start the season.
#4 — Boston have done a good job going to Paul Pierce when LeBron James is out of the game. Nobody else on Miami’s roster can come close to defending Paul Pierce and he has fully taken advantage of Miami’s lesser defenders (Stackhouse tonight, J.Jones in game one). Miami has to keep LeBron on Pierce throughout the contest. They cannot afford to let Pierce get off offensively.
#5 — Kevin Garnett has been terrific again tonight. His defense has been terrific + his rebounding numbers are way up + he has been more active and aggressive offensively to begin the season than he was any point last season. This KG is lot similar to the one we saw early in 2008/09 than last season.
A couple of very athletic plays from Garnett, the lob late in the game from Rondo + a couple of early rebounds which he never would have gotten to last season. Garnett has 10 rebounds in the first half alone.
#6 — I’ve been impressed with Ray Allen to start the season. He has been locked in offensively. Shooting the ball very well. Both in the first 10 games and during pre-season. Consistent.
Ray Allen has 18 points on 7-9 shooting from the field.
#7 — A few stats
- Boston shooting 60% from the floor in the first half.
- Boston is +4 on rebound differential
- They are +3 on turnover differential
- +8 on fastbreak points (Miami’s bread and butter)
- +7 in assists
The Celtics have absolutely destroyed the Heat in the first half. Similar to how they did in the first matchup of the season (when Miami made a late run and made it look closer than it really was).
Rondo’s Huge Dunk
Boston leading 61-46 to begin the second half.
Miami trying to grind their way back into this game behind LeBron’s strong effort and active help defense (leaving too many openings though) but despite their best efforts, Boston continues to answer right back. Celtics up 14 as we near the end of the third.
Dwyane Wade still a no show. 6 points on 2-10 shooting. No rebounds, only 2 assists. 5 turnovers. Wade is getting lit up on the defensive end of the floor and has made a bunch of very poor decisions offensively. He has killed Miami tonight.
Miami make a small run behind a triple from House and four free throws from LeBron to pull the deficit within 10 to close the quarter.
LeBron James now has 27 points through three quarters in large part due to his 16 free throws. He started the game off physically, looking for contact on every move he made offensively. Had a couple of early post ups. Barreled into contact on a couple of early drives and fastbreaks. He has calmed down some since then (over-aggressive really, slightly out of control on a few of those moves) but he has continued to attack the rim.
It’s been LeBron’s driving + free throws + the bench scoring (21 points) that has allowed Miami to stay within shooting distance.
Chris Bosh had a few good moments in the second quarter but was anonymous in the first and has overall been quiet. Kevin Garnett is a tough matchup for him.
Nate Robinson had made four quick good plays to begin the fourth. He has 10 points now and has lifted the lead back to 13. He has momentarily at least stopped Miami’s momentum. Big bonus for Boston, for their second unit to hold of Miami’s charge.
Miami brought Bosh back into to the game two and half minutes into the fourth. Ten seconds later, KG checked in for Boston. Doc wanted Garnett in the game to defend Bosh and to keep him quiet. Smart decision.
Miami has arguably their best lineup on the floor at the moment with the Big Three, Haslem and J.Jones. Boston has Ray and KG plus three subs in Nate, Erden and Marquis. Nine minutes to play in the quarter. Boston still up 10 after a J.Jones triple.
Ah, update, appearantly that was BBD’s fifth foul of the game. Shaq has five too (dubious 4th + 5th and dubious flagrant call). Garnett might have been brought back in solely due to BBD’s foul trouble rather than to play against Bosh.
Miami got it into single digits for the first time since the first quarter but Boston immediately push it back to 10, and then 13, after a Ray triple. Seven minutes to play.
LeBron misses two straight FTs and misses the chance to pull Miami within 7. There is a little less than five minutes to play. Boston up 9. LeBron has had three trips to the FT line in the last two minutes + hit a jump shot and setup Haslem for a jumper.
Chris Bosh makes a nice move in the post, bags a layup. Seven point game. Four minutes left to play.
Dwyane Wade has a three from the top of the key rim out. The crowd was ready to erupt if he made that one. Timeout Boston. Three minutes and twenty three seconds left to play in the fourth. Miami causing Boston all types of problems with that high pick and roll with LeBron.
Paul Pierce with a lovely spin move to setup the drive, then a fallaway over LeBron in the lane. Offensive rebound Miami, intercepted by Garnett, fastbreak Boston, Rondo to Ray, layup. 11 point game. Haslem answers with a baseline J from 17 feet after some nice ball movement.
Two minutes to play, LeBron gets Garnett on the switch, clearout, top of the key, LeBron takes it right to the rim and gets an easy layup. LeBron misses a layup on the next possession. Fastbreak Boston, Rondo blows the layup. Then LeBron bricks a three (0-5 from downtown tonight).
Seven point game with 48.7 seconds left to play. Boston’s ball. This game is pretty much over.
Udonis Haslem has shot the ball very well tonight. Nine of ten from the field, bagged midrange jumper after midrange jumper. Miami score four straight points behind Haslem. A short jumper and a pair of FTs to close the game to 3 points with 12 seconds to play. Haslem had a nice run down and shot block to deny Ray Allen a breakaway dunk moments ago too (albeit, he fouled Ray on the arm as the replay shows).
Ray Allen hits a pair of free throws. 35 points on the night to lead Boston. Celtics up 5 with 10 seconds to play. That should do it.
LeBron also has 35 points to go along with 10 boards and 9 dimes.
The Celtics win.