They were supposed to be too old, to wear-out, too much mileage, too injury-prone, a veteran squad who’s best years had gone by and who’s glory days were nothing but memories. Last season, they couldn’t beat the Miami Heat and went home after five games in the Playoffs second round. This time, despite a very solid game two performance, the Boston Celtics were coming back to the Boston Garden with a 0-2 deficit against the Miami Heat. Some would had believed that once again the series would be over in 5 games and the even older Celtics would succumb to the physical prowess of LeBron James, Dwayne Wade and the Miami Heat. But last night the Celtics proved that they still have what it takes, that they are as tough and as resilient as a much younger team. And the Miami Heat was embarrassed on its own court as the Celtics cut down a 13-point deficit to take the game 94-90.
Rumor has it, that earlier this season, Doc Rivers, the Boston Celtics head coach, reunited with Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and Ray Allen, and came up to their young and talented point guard, Rajon Rondo with a very simple plan. “Well go as far as you can take us” the veteran, championship winning, squad told Rondo. Well, perhaps for the first time in his career, Rondo has realized that this is now his team, that the Big Three are his supporting role, and that if they prioritize team work over individual accomplishments, they could very well make it back with another ring. So far, despite fighting for every single points, every series, every match, the veteran team is still here, and one home game away from making it into the NBA Finals for the third time in 5 years.
And it was up to the usual suspects to turn the tables on the Miami Heat. Kevin Garnett finished with 26 points and 11 rebounds, Paul Pierce scored 19, after a very poor start. But it all changed when it matter most, he was a decisive player in cluth time and he buried the Heat when he converted a huge 3-pointer over LeBron James’ outstretched arm with 52.9 seconds left on the game. “We’ve done nothing,” Celtics coach Doc Rivers said. “We’re playing a heck of a basketball team. So just because we’re going to Boston, I told them, we have to play. They’re not going to give it to us. We have to go get it.”
The Miami Heat superstars weren’t up to it. James finished with 30 points and 13 rebounds for the Heat. This alone could be considered a brilliant performance, but once again, James proved to be unreliable in clutch time situations as he went 8 minutes without scoring in the final quarter. Dwyane Wade scored 27 for the Heat, who got no more than nine points from anyone else. “We wouldn’t want to be in this situation but we never get too high or too low in a series,” James said. “We had an opportunity to come home and take a lead, but we didn’t. So we have to go up to Boston and win a game.” It’s that or go home. Sure enough the Heat are a -2 point favorite on the NBA betting spread for game 6. But it seems that the Celtics have the motivation needed to finish them off.