Archive for May 4th, 2011
It’s not looking good for the Boston Celtics. It’s not a good omen. The last time the Boston Celtics lost the first two games of a playoffs series was back in 2004 when they got swept by the Indiana Pacers. As a matter of fact, this is now the ninth time in the franchise history that Boston has dropped the first two games of a series. And the numbers do speak for themselves. Out of the previous eight, only once has the Boston Celtics come back from a 0-2 deficit and win the series, and it was in 1969 against the LA Lakers in the NBA Finals.
Perhaps the problem is that Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and Ray Allen have never found themselves in this situation. These Celtics have lost Game 1s in four other series before their matchup with the Miami Heat in the Eastern Conference Semis. The Celtics had previously bounced back to win Game 2 each time, against Chicago and Orlando in 2009, then Cleveland and the Lakers in 2010. Well, not this time. The Celtics managed to tie the game at 80 with 7:10 left on the game after a 13-6 run in the fourth quarter. But they couldn’t hold, the Celtics couldn’t defend and certainly didn’t know how to stop the Miami Heat as they finished a 14-0 run that was enough to give them a 102-91 win at home to take a 2-0 lead in the best-of-seven series.
LeBron James finished off the game with 35 points, 7 rebounds and 2 assists. Perhaps what hurt the Celtics more was that James scored 24 of those 35 points in the second half, for 14 of 25 shooting and not a single turnover in 44 minutes of play. Dwayne Wade added 28 points while Chris Bosh chipped in 17 points and 11 rebounds.
Let’s face it: the Miami Heat’s big three outplayed Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and Ray Allen. And that simply will not fly if they want to survive this series. Miami’s trio of stars scored 80 points; the Celtics big three had 36. LeBron James and Co. had 49.1 percent shooting from the field and 26 boards while walking to the free throw line 32 times. The Celtics big three had a 39.5 field goal percentage, captured 10 fewer rebounds and had only 4 free throw attempts. Had it not been for the Celtics all-star point guard who guided the team with 20 points, 6 rebounds and 12 assists, the Heat would had utterly embarrassed the Celtics.
The Boston Celtics got 16 points from Kevin Garnett and 13 from Paul Pierce. The veteran Pierce had to be taken into the locker room for treatment in his Achilles tendon during the first half. Ray Allen was held to seven points. To win this series, Boston will need, first, for the big three to step up and play with all their might in the Boston Garden. They will also need to defeat the Heat four times in a five-game span. They’ve done it before: they did it in the first round against Miami last year, then again in the second round against LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers in the East semis. The thing is that this year LeBron and the Heat are one. So it can be done, but neither LeBron James (7-0) nor Dwayne Wade (5-0) has ever been part of a playoff series defeat after their teams won the first two games.