May 2, 2011, 12:30 AM EDT
This series is far, far from over.
Miami set the tone in Game 1. They got the big game they needed from Dwyane Wade, the Heat were more physical, the Heat bench stepped up and most surprisingly it was Boston players that lost their composure. (That said the second technical on Pierce was just bad — are you really going to start T’ing up every guy who swears at an opponent on the court?). Miami looked better, Boston looked dead.
But Boston has been dead before. It was just one year ago to the day when LeBron James and his Cavaliers dominated the second half (58-39) and won Game 1 at home of a second round series against Boston. Pundits started putting nails in the Celtics coffin.
We remember how that turned out.
Boston is not dead this time either. There is a lot of this series left and they have made it to the finals two of the last three years because they know how to adjust. And while they can take a couple positives from this game, they have a lot of work to do if they are going to win it.
For positives, Boston did a solid job keeping the Heat out of the paint. They even forced Dwyane Wade to take a lot of midrange shots, but he hit 6-of-12 from there (all from the left side of the court). LeBron got some tough shots to fall. Boston can hope that the Heat will not shoot that well from the midrange again. Boston also can do a better job contesting the three-point line and maybe not losing track of James Jones. Boston’s defense was not as good as it normally is and it had nothing to do with Kendrick Perkins. It was in areas the Celtics can improve.
On offense, Rajon Rondo must have a better game — him against the Heat point guards is the matchup the Celtics need to dominate. Rondo must have big games, but in Game 1 he basically played the Miami point guards to a standstill. That can’t happen, the Celtics offense goes as he goes.
Also, for a game Glen Davis was wrong — Miami’s bench was better. Much better. Boston’s bench shot 34.8 percent. The Heat’s bench has been playing pretty well through the playoffs and it had Jones in this game. Boston needs to swing that.
Boston can adjust. Boston can play a lot better. Its stars can play with more composure. They can be smarter.
They will have to. Miami has compiled a team of sharks, and they taste the blood in the water.
But don’t think Boston is done. Not yet.