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NBA Playoffs: Boston defenseless against Miami

May 3, 2011, 11:17 PM EDT

Miami Heat's LeBron James celebrates after scoring against the Boston Celtics in Miami

Boston is down 2-0 to Miami. It feels a lot worse.

Celtics fans can take solace that the Celtics are heading back to the Garden, but it’s hard to see how that — or Shaq or anything else — is going to make a big difference in this series.

For two games, Miami has robbed Boston of its strengths.

It has taken Boston’s identity, and added youth and athleticism.

For one, Boston’s defense as been laid to waste. In Game 2 Miami won 102-91, putting more than 100 points on the vaunted Celtics defense. They scored at a 114.6 points per 100 possessions pace after reaching 107.6 in Game 1. For some perspective, on the season Boston gave up just 97.8 points per 100 possessions during the season.

Miami’s offense attacked off the dribble then used quick passing and motion off the ball to expose the weak side defenders. To add to that, Miami went on its best runs when they forced turnovers and got out in transition before the Celtics could set their defense. And when all else failed, Miami just drained threes over the top of it.

That Miami was able to get inside the heart of the Celtics defense brings us to the other strength ripped from Boston — Miami was again the tougher, more physical team.

Boston tried to punish anyone who dared dribble penetration, but Miami took the punishment and still scored inside, hitting 12-of-16 shots at the rim. Miami was more aggressive and that is why they got to the free throw line 14 more times. (Sorry Celtics fans, that wasn’t the refs. If you shoot jumpers you don’t get to the line, and your guys started for the outside shot as the game wore on.)

While the Celtics overload on defense, on the other end of the floor the Heat stay balanced and count on their athleticism to challenge shots and create turnovers. It’s working, as Boston made of point of trying to get the ball inside but ended up shooting just 14-of-27 at the rim with Miami making a number of blocks inside.

This wasn’t some blowout from the start, Boston stayed close. Early on it was because of Kevin Garnett, who hit some face up jumpers in the first half (he finished with 16 points on 20 shots). In the second half Rajon Rondo awoke from a six-quarter slumber and started to push the tempo and attack the rim.

Boston tied the game at 80-80 with 7:30 left — then Miami went on a 14-0 run, capped off by a LeBron put back dunk off a Wade miss that pretty much signaled the end of the game.

Or, think about Game 2 this way: Miami’s big three had 80 points on the Celtics defense, Boston’s big four combined for 56 points. James led everyone with 35 on 25 shots.

For a while in the fourth quarter Boston was relying on Glen Davis for steady post scoring as their offense, and that is the sign of big trouble — there is a reason he is open. Meanwhile LeBron and Wade and were creating shots for themselves and teammates.

Miami has a confidence now, one that starts with its defense but touches everything they do. You can sense it, every time Boston makes a run Miami answers. They had LeBron James draining threes and on one turnover James just bowled over Rajon Rondo. Or they had Wade absolutely spinning Kevin Garnett around and breaking Ray Allen’s ankles for a three.

Boston is not out of this series mathematically. But it’s hard to imagine them wining four-out-of-five after watching the first two games, after seeing the Heat physically dominate. Really, right now it’s hard to imagine Boston winning more than one.

  1. ep916 - May 3, 2011 at 11:26 PM

    youth and athletisicm huh (maybe) since old sterny couldn stop the he may hav told them not to make it look so easy. hey im jus sayin!!!!

    • andyhr17 - May 4, 2011 at 6:08 AM

      Just a tip…when you’re typing in words and it puts little red wavy lines underneath most of them that’s a sign from god you may be illiterate…

      Anyway. The Heat handled their business at home, which is what they needed to do. They’re the #2 seed. They’re supposed to win at home. Once they steal a game in Boston, you can resume the premature championship celebration. Until then, Miami has simply done what they were supposed to do. (And by saying they’ve “simply done that” I mean they’ve dominated Boston in about every way imaginable)

      • omniusprime - May 4, 2011 at 9:38 AM

        Any fool talking about signs from god is the truly illiterate fool!

      • andyhr17 - May 4, 2011 at 9:43 AM

        I really hope that you don’t truly believe that I was saying that spell-check is a sign from god. I was simply making a point that was obviously lost on you.

  2. scorp16 - May 3, 2011 at 11:28 PM

    Well……when Shaq gets back…..and….Rondo stops sucking his thumb…….

    But…But….But…I don’t understand….The Big Bad Celtics won in October………

    Hey New England……There’s a New Sheriff in town!

    • silencegooddoer - May 4, 2011 at 11:59 AM

      Yep! And he has a lady pyramid. Derrick Rose!

  3. jstrizzle - May 3, 2011 at 11:39 PM

    I think it is a bit premature to call a veteran team dead down 2-0 when they are headed back home.

    • scorp16 - May 3, 2011 at 11:46 PM

      Think all you want….They have been completely dominated both games..

      • imamanim40 - May 3, 2011 at 11:50 PM

        lemme guess…a bandwagon heat fan, r we??

      • jstrizzle - May 4, 2011 at 1:33 AM

        I’m not a Celtics fan by any means. Both teams win at home then it would come down to game 7. Just thought Kurt could wait until the Heat take one of the next 2 in Boston.

  4. delfi2 - May 3, 2011 at 11:43 PM

    heat fan here…and I know the Heat will not let up. D-Wade will not allow them to. He has the killer instinct in him, and LeBron, C-Bosh and the rest of the Heat crew will follow suit! Sweep – write it down, take a picture, i dont give a f*** :)

  5. scorp16 - May 4, 2011 at 12:07 AM

    Thank you Danny Ainge….Perk sure looks good in a Thunder uniform!!!!!!…….Stupid move Beantown eh?

  6. thetooloftools - May 4, 2011 at 1:22 AM

    Miami still hasn’t won anything.
    Kobe is going to rip your hearts out.
    LeBron James doesn’t have to worry though… he has no heart.

  7. downtowndanny - May 4, 2011 at 2:53 AM

    dam, could it be that all the hate i spewed over the summer is in vain? the heat look very confident, I only respect Wade though, they go as he goes. but reality says they still have to see Mr Rose in Chitown, beat him then face Dirk or Kobe and co, so on second thought, theres no way in hell they win it all this year!

  8. davidis57 - May 4, 2011 at 5:46 AM

    Once again the media makes predictions and its not over and a lot of basketball to go. I get tired of sportscasters and sportswriters acting like they have some crystal ball. Between them and fans talking smack you wonder why they even bother to play the game.

  9. budrow - May 4, 2011 at 6:06 AM

    Nay sayers! The Bulls and Celtics are hitting the skids, hard. They peaked and the Heat are starting to peak. Remember what Miami did to the Lakers on Christmas? Eviscerated them! You’ll all be eating crow when Miami wins the championship while everyone said it couldn’t be done this early, with this team. But they can and probably will, they ave too much talent for anyone to handle. Side note: Anyone see Chris Paul rockin that Yankee cap? The NBA is going to look different soon. God thing the Heat did it first, get a couple easy championships before it gets hard.



    • kast2l - May 4, 2011 at 9:52 AM

      Are you really feeding into Chris Paul wearing a yankees cap? Who hasn’t? Lebron has worn one but I don’t see him a Knick or Net, so come on…. just stop it…

  10. omniusprime - May 4, 2011 at 9:42 AM

    If the refs weren’t blantantly ignoring all the fouls the Heatstroke have been committing they wouldn’t be pushing around the Ancient Celtics with impunity. About time the refs call fouls properly on both teams. Still this shows how stupid Crybaby Ainge was to trade away Perkins mid-season. Only way the South Beach Crybabies win it all is if the refs give it to them. If the Heatstroke get to the Finals then I can’t wait to watch the Repeat World Champion Lakers crush them with their size and tenacity!

    • ibleedaquaorange - May 4, 2011 at 12:59 PM

      Your wordplay is horrendous.

      Also, a little newsflash for you: the Lakers didn’t fare so well with their “size and tenacity” on both occasions this year. If anything, they’re the ones that need to prove they can beat Miami. As I’ve said before, all you bitter have-nots can do is hope your little hearts out that someone, anyone ends their season… unfortunately for you, your hope doesn’t physically injure Wade or LBJ, so good luck with that.

      • loungefly74 - May 4, 2011 at 2:25 PM

        no, no, no…the two time defending champs don’t need to prove anything to anyone. you are not looking at the big picture. if and when the Heat win the Title, then they could start the “talk”…until then, they have nothing to hang their hats on.
        The Heat do look amazing but please don’t think regular season wins are something they are beating their chests about. no, wait till they win the Title…and when that happens, i’ll be the first to tip my cap to them.
        oh…and no excuses on what happens, injuries or not. thats why you develop a good bench if injuries do come into play.

      • ibleedaquaorange - May 4, 2011 at 10:43 PM

        “oh…and no excuses on what happens, injuries or not. thats why you develop a good bench if injuries do come into play.”

        Uhh… the best bench in the world couldn’t overcome a loss of either player I mentioned. That’s like telling the Bulls, “no excuses if Derrick Rose suffers a season-ending injury. should still win.”

        Yeah, reg season is meaningless, yet that Xmas day game was hands down the biggest stage either team played on this season… you think Lakers weren’t bringing their absolute A-game for that? Get outta here.

  11. torotrigger - May 4, 2011 at 1:38 PM

    Heat have looked really dominant this series – even more so than against 76ers – cant wait for game 3 – see what happens in Boston – its gonna be nuts out there.

    think Boston probably rebound after a game 3 loss, but it looks like a 5game series for the heat

  12. rickmirer - May 4, 2011 at 4:05 PM


    You’re probably right. Yankee caps are popular and probably don’t mean anything. I just get caught up on the hoopla sometimes. Good point kast2l.

  13. rapmusicmademedoit - May 4, 2011 at 7:13 PM

    Boston is done, they run like they sheet in their shorts.
    oh boy, that is messy.


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