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No surprises in Game 1 as Heat cruise to win over Celtics

May 29, 2012, 12:30 AM EDT

lebron-game1-celtics

The first game of the Eastern Conference Finals went largely as expected. With LeBron James and Dwyane Wade combining for 54 points, and with the Celtics offense being wildly inconsistent, Miami cruised to a 93-79 victory that seemed to see Boston’s worst fears in facing the Heat in this series become reality.

James got going early, outscoring the Celtics by himself in the first period 13-11, while helping his team get out to a 10-point lead after one. Boston climbed back into it in the second by getting balanced scoring from its stars against the Heat’s second unit, with Rajon Rondo, Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, and Ray Allen combining for 28 of their team’s 35 points in the period.

Unfortunately for Boston, that offensive performance was short-lived, and a complete aberration.

Pierce finished with just 12 points on 5-of-18 shooting; the responsibility of checking James on the defensive end for most of the night clearly took its toll. Allen played more than 38 minutes, but he managed just 1-of-7 shooting, and even more uncharacteristically, missed four of his seven free throw attempts; he’s definitely not right, and the ankle injury is obviously crushing his normally stellar ability to rain down shots at an extremely high percentage.

Garnett was the Celtics best and most consistent offensive player, finishing with 23 points on 9-of-16 shooting. But that’s also telling of Boston’s offensive woes, because when your strongest offensive option is your power forward knocking down long jumpers, it means that nothing is coming easy.

Setting aside Boston’s problems offensively for a moment — which may very well continue for the majority of this series — the team did have some measure of success in two areas. The Celtics limited the Heat’s opportunities in transition, and held Miami to just 10 fast break points. And, the Heat missed 20 of their 25 three-point attempts.

Boston went to a zone defense late, with the game essentially already having been decided. It was successful, and Doc Rivers said afterward that we can expect to see more of it as the series progresses. If Boston can keep Miami from getting into the lane and out in transition, then defensively, the Celtics have a shot to keep the games from getting out of hand and give themselves a fighting chance.

But the reality is that there were times in this game that Boston simply looked gassed defensively. And with the Celtics having no answer to slow James and Wade with individual defenders or with their team defensive schemes, unless they can create some better looks for Allen and Pierce — neither of whom appear to be playing at 100 percent health-wise — this figures to be a very short series, and one that will end in an inevitable return trip to the Finals for the Heat.

  1. 1972wasalongtimeago - May 29, 2012 at 12:31 AM

    9

  2. carpediaz - May 29, 2012 at 12:34 AM

    Heat in 4.

  3. dirtyjerseysports - May 29, 2012 at 1:05 AM

    Hey Stern! Do you miss me? It looks alot better when I do it. -Tim Donaghy #Fix

    • edweird0 - May 29, 2012 at 2:28 AM

      you’re an idiot

      • dirtyjerseysports - May 29, 2012 at 11:03 AM

        Jealousy will get you nowhere.

  4. ncarolinarn7 - May 29, 2012 at 1:19 AM

    Agree Heat in 4 with only one close game at the Garden.

  5. ncarolinarn7 - May 29, 2012 at 1:19 AM

    Agree Heat in 4 with only one close game at the Garden.

  6. sportsconnectafrica - May 29, 2012 at 2:29 AM

    Reblogged this on sportsconnectafrica.

  7. mungman69 - May 29, 2012 at 5:55 AM

    This ain’t worth it

  8. florida727 - May 29, 2012 at 7:14 AM

    “Boston climbed back into it in the second by getting balanced scoring from its stars against the Heat’s second unit…”

    Key to the series. Boston will ONLY have an easy time scoring against Miami’s second unit. Unfortunately, I’m leaning toward agreeing with the others that are saying Heat in 4 (maybe 5, but it’s not likely). Too much energy expended on the defensive end for the Celtic stars to produce any consistent offense of their own. This is going to be a very frustrating series for Boston. And Bosh will get added rest to be ready for the Finals.

  9. therealtrenches - May 29, 2012 at 7:51 AM

    Go ahead celts fans: whine about the refs. Say stern wants the Heat in the finals. You’re in complete denial about your rapidly aging team if you think either matters. The Heat are far better.

    • dirtyjerseysports - May 29, 2012 at 11:05 AM

      I cant stand Boston and but C’mon ya gotta open your eyes on those techs. Especially the one on Allen and the delay of game on KG.

      • duane888 - May 29, 2012 at 2:27 PM

        The one on KG was the correct call. It was a slight tap on the ball, but just enough to stop a quick inbound and push by Miami as Boston was starting to retreat on defense.

        Boston’s tactics were clear, slow down Miami’s transition game. On a separate play, Miami was on a fast break and Rondo fouled Lebron at mid-court preventing an easy 2 points.

        In the flow of the game, the ref’s are gonna pick up on these subtle tactics and blow the whistle when needed.

    • gmsingh - May 29, 2012 at 3:34 PM

      Go ahead celts fans: whine about the refs. Say stern wants the Heat in the finals. You’re in complete denial about your rapidly aging team if you think either matters.

      Really? What do you think the difference in ratings would be with the Heat in the finals vs. the Celtics? About double? it’s all about the Benjamins you clown.

  10. loungefly74 - May 29, 2012 at 8:09 AM

    Boston is too good to be swept. what do the Celtics do? I would (and it’s a dumb idea but hey, whatever) put a couple enforcers on the floor and rough up wade and lebron every game. i mean, do some “laimbeer” work on them. personally, i don’t want the Celtics raising another banner and despise both teams so my opinion means zilch. this series for me is like picking between eating a bowl of menudo or a serving of haggis.

    • duane888 - May 29, 2012 at 2:35 PM

      In case you missed it, Indiana just tried those tactics and we all saw what happened to them. It only delayed the inevitable, the better team will win out.

      • loungefly74 - May 29, 2012 at 2:56 PM

        youre probably right. yeah, indy did try to muscle them around and failed.

        also, i guess it goes to show the Heat do have a stronger bench then most would give them credit for.

  11. koloofai - May 29, 2012 at 8:27 AM

    I’m a fan of both teams but it seems that the Heat have to much bounce in their step for the C’s.. I imagine these we are watching the last games of the Celtics Big three

  12. canehouse - May 29, 2012 at 8:52 AM

    HEAT in 5… Doc Rivers is too good of a coach to allow his team to be swept.

    • zeedoubleyou - May 29, 2012 at 10:52 AM

      Fair point, but I doubt anyone would hold it against Doc if he just doesn’t have the horses out there.

    • kinggw - May 29, 2012 at 2:43 PM

      Is he really? I like Doc, but the numbers say he is overrated as a coach. He was a mediocre coach in Orlando and while he was there he had arguably the best player in the league in McGrady. He didnt turn things around in Boston until the Big 3 arrived. Doc is a good coach, but I think he hails in comparison to true superstar coaches like Pop.

      • bozosforall - May 29, 2012 at 3:08 PM

        Correct. Doc Rivers is way overrated. Tom Thibodeau was the real reason why the Celtics coaching staff had any credibility while he was there. Thibodeau will far surpass anything that Rivers has done or will ever do.

  13. mungman69 - May 29, 2012 at 9:37 AM

    Hey loungefly74: I agree with you 100%. I’m tired of the Celtics (they’ve won enough) and I’m tired of the Heat (all of the ink and tv reporting they get).
    The Celtics had trouble with the 76ers for heavens sake.
    Miami in 4.

    • loungefly74 - May 29, 2012 at 3:00 PM

      LOL mungman69, well…you’ll hate me for this…but i’m a Laker fan, thats why i dont want to see the C’s hang another banner! as far as the Heat, well, yeah, agree. hard to like a team thats already annointed the greatest team ever without winning anything yet.

      • bozosforall - May 29, 2012 at 3:10 PM

        This year’s NBA champion is coming out of the West. Spurs, most likely…but if not, then the Thunder will beat the likely East champion, the Heat. Boston is DONE! Heat in 4. SUH-WEEEEP.

  14. barryblogs - May 29, 2012 at 10:50 AM

    Why don’t we just call the series over now? I’m a Celtics fan and know it is a real long-shot for them to beat Miami, but it is still only one game. Strange things can happen and everyone calling the Celtics dead already is a bit ridiculous. Not giving up after one game.

  15. andyhr17 - May 29, 2012 at 10:51 AM

    Yes, obviously a sweep because if this year has taught us anything it’s to predict the series winner based off of who wins game 1. Just ask the Bulls, Hawks, Sixers and Magic.

  16. nard100 - May 29, 2012 at 1:05 PM

    To quote the Bjork song ” Army of me”

    You’re on your own now (Rajon)
    We won’t save you
    Your rescue squad
    Is too eshausted

    Rajon is not going to be enough to save the Celtics this time. They’re old and honestly watching Paul Pierce play linebacker on a basketball court is too embarrassing to continue. Heat in 5.

  17. lakerluver - May 29, 2012 at 4:27 PM

    Was there a bball game last night? The Championship series continues tonight out West. The C’s v. Heat is for 3rd and 4th place.

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