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NBA Playoffs: The Miami Heat show their ugly side in Game 3 vs. Celtics

May 8, 2011, 1:30 AM EDT

Miami Heat v Boston Celtics - Game Three Getty Images

Welcome back the Miami Heat we have mocked and derided all season. We’re glad you could visit after the impressive, competent team that has inhabited your body for eight weeks. They were no fun at all, what with their championship aspirations and focused intensity.

The Boston Celtics rediscovered themselves in Game 3 on Saturday, as they got back to what they do best, hitting big shots and shutting off the opponent’s airflow defensively. But for the time being, let’s shelve Rajon Rondo‘s heroic performance, Boston’s stellar defense, and Kevin Garnett eating Chris Bosh alive alone for a second. Actually, you know what? Let’s start there, but on the flip side.

Remember those halcyon days of the first round when Bosh was facing inferior defenders and could thrive at the elbow? Yeah, neither does he. Bosh admitted after the game that he had a bad game, as if six points, five rebounds, one assist and two turnovers with a blocked shot begins to describe how pitiful he was in this game. Garnett turns 35 in 12 days. However, if Garnett can figure out a way to transfer Bosh’s pride into physical years of life, he’s going to last longer than Indiana Jones. Garnett ruined Bosh in Game 3 as he has throughout the matchup in the regular season and playoffs. Bosh’s 17 points on 7-of-11 shooting in Game 2 feels like a relic. There was simply no way to describe how badly Garnett shook and baked Bosh in the block. The rebounding, the works. But, hey, maybe Bosh would have produced more had the ball moved at all on offense.

LeBron James and Dwyane Wade, when moving through the flow of the offense, are a deadly combination. James and Wade, when freezing the offense with over-dribbling, head fakes, and isolation, always isolation, are just as thoroughly inept as any bottom-feeding lottery squad. Guess which team showed up in Game 3?

In the continuing evolution of the question of who is the real leader of the Heat, Game 3 represented a significant development. Maybe the Heat can’t close without Wade plugged in. But they have no such opportunity when James drops a 6-of-16 performance with as many turnovers as assists. In short, when James is neutralized, so go the Heat.

There were questions about the Heat’s mental focus and toughness going into the playoffs. A 2-0 lead over the defending Eastern Conference champions had quelled some of that, but the Heat had never been behind in the fourth, never been trying to overcome a deficit on the road in these playoffs against a real contender. They got a taste of that experience against the Celtics on Saturday night. And the Celtics beat them with one arm tied behind Rondo’s back (almost).

So we’ll wait till Game 4 on Monday to see if the Heat can put together another impressive performance, or if they’re back to their same old tricks of disappointment and failure.

Maybe the Celtics were just giving it one more try. Maybe it was just the emotion from Rondo’s return to action after dislocating his left elbow. Maybe it was just a momentary diversion in the Heat’s ascension to the title they planned in the summer. Or maybe it was Miami showing that as long as they can’t race out to a big, fun lead, they’ll still revert back to the same habits we’ve come to mock or be frustrated with. Game 3 was a flashback for the Heat, in a real bad way.

  1. davidly - May 8, 2011 at 3:05 AM

    Why can’t we just admit that when one team wins, they outplayed the other team? This series-analysis has grown so tired; it’s the same with every series ever year.

    It’s one thing to note specific areas where a team got beat. But to have to always talk as if it is because somebody isn’t playing to their potential is to fail to notice that the other team just made it difficult for them.

    And I’m not just picking on Moore they all do it. Note to sports urinalist: This is what a series is.

    • purdueman - May 8, 2011 at 3:05 PM

      davidly: AMEN! Unfortunately we live in a world of “analysis paralysis” and what’s over too often overlooked is that these games are played by real people who aren’t as perfect as the rotogeeks try to make them out to be.

      As we now all see in the NFL draft, it’s not about what guys can do, but it’s all about their faults that matter. We pick athletes apart and forget that guys like Pao Gasol are real people with real feelings, real emotions and real problems (on and off the court), just like we all have.

      I feel bad for Pau Gasol, because he’s been made out to be the scapegoat for the Lakers demise. My how quickly Laker Honks forget that without Pao the Lakers don’t win the last two championships, but as General Patton liked to say: “All glory is fleeting”.

      • davidly - May 8, 2011 at 6:55 PM

        Yep. And Kobe was just at the postgame, nearly every question was more or less “how come you guys suck” and his answer was pretty much “give credit to the Mavs”.

        Sports urinalist breed that kind of negative attention. At least the commentators at some point show a little more class.

        And even though this is the not the thread for it: Hats off to the Mavs. It’ll be interesting to see how the do against the winner between OkCity/Memphis. The lived by the three. We’ll see.

      • davidly - May 8, 2011 at 6:56 PM

        I should say they thrived on the three. Kaboom!

      • purdueman - May 8, 2011 at 7:27 PM

        davidly… the way that the LA Weepers laid down and quit today, I bet a thoroughly disgusted Phil Jackson is thanking his lucky stars that he already had announced that he wasn’t coming back next year!

        Also, Laker Homers and LA Laker Orange County Honks should all shave their butts and be made to walk backwards all day tomorrow for the way that their precious Lakers just flat out quit!

        You’ve heard of pig roasts? Brace yourself for a “Gasol roast”, as Laker Homers and Honks everywhere make him into a scapegoat in order to protect Kobe (who by the way also completely disappeared in this series even more so than Pau).

    • davidly - May 9, 2011 at 3:13 AM

      boilerdude, man! Get a grip. You are providing the proof in my original comment. Try reading it.

      Granted, you were able to make the connection between the negativity I was pointing out and the Gasol bashing, but this thread has nothing to do with the Lakers.

      It’s hard to know from mere text, but it reads like you are ranting and lashing out. Let it go. So what if you don’t like what a certain class of ostensible Lakers’ fan has brought to this forum. How are you any better? Show some class.

  2. purdueman - May 8, 2011 at 3:28 AM

    Hey! Where have all the Laker Homers who frequent this forum suddenly gone? To find a tall bridge to jump off of, perhaps?

    I’m always willing to lend a helping hand though, so if you Laker Homers are having a hard time locating a suitable bridge to jump off of, here’s a great link to a tall bridge that will get the job done in nearby San Pedro (especially you Orange County Laker Honks who profess to know everything about the NBA fans in Orange and Riverside Counties!):

    • davidly - May 8, 2011 at 3:35 AM

      What’s this got to do with the Lakers? You ever lost a loved-one to suicide, boilerdude?

  3. kwags70 - May 8, 2011 at 7:06 AM

    Isn’t it a bit premature to jump back onto the “Heat Will Crash & Burn” Haters’ Bandwagon? Correct me if I’m wrong, but they are still up in the series, 2-1. I know it’s cool to hate LeBron and trendy to deride Wade & Bosh this season, but at least let the series play out before rallying the deflated masses of Miami Heat Hatemongers. One bad game does not a collapse make.

  4. okcallday - May 8, 2011 at 12:18 PM

    Matt, I really enjoy your writing. Can we kill Kurt and you can replace him?

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