May 4, 2011, 10:06 AM EDT
It hasn’t been just the last couple of games where Miami’s American Airlines Arena has been a house of horrors for Boston.
Turns out the regular season sucked for them there, too. As evidence we present this tidbit from Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo.
When the Boston Celtics climbed on the team bus in the bowels of American Airlines Arena late in the regular season, the mood had been thick with anger and disgust over finally losing to the Miami Heat. Only now, several sources said, the Celtics discovered a deeper, knifing violation: Someone had snuck onto the bus and stolen cash and belongings from the coaches’ and players’ bags.
“It was pretty bad,” a source told Yahoo! Sports. “A lot of stuff, a lot of money.”
Now the Celtics are being robbed of their identity when they go to Miami — the Heat have been the tougher, better defensive team in this series so far.
The defensive part is interesting because the conventional wisdom is you need a shot-blocking big man in the middle to be a good defensive team, but the Heat’s best defensive lineup has a 6’9” center in the middle. The prolific and wise Tom Haberstroh delves into that defensive identity at ESPN’s The Heat Index.
The Heat pride themselves on basket protection, but they’re defending it with the weapon of quickness, not height. Of the team’s nine blocks, the most memorable one came with less than a minute left and the Celtics down nine points. Kevin Garnett set a pindown screen for Ray Allen, forcing Anthony to jump out and help close off the shooter. Once Garnett saw Anthony cover Allen on the wing, he cut to the rim for a wide-open finish — except it was only wide open for a moment.
LeBron sprinted from the weakside and met the 6-foot-11 Garnett at the rim in a flash. Garnett tried to muscle a layup past LeBron, but the two-time MVP rose up and swatted Garnett’s layup to the foul line.
Quickness, not height.
It’s a different script. But one that is working. Well. And robbing the Celtics on the court (and fortunately not off it).
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