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Miami flips the switch to off for Game 3, can they turn it back on?

Jun 2, 2012, 2:40 AM EDT

Miami Heat v Boston Celtics - Game Three Getty Images

Let’s give all due credit to the Boston Celtics — staring in the face of a must win night they brought it like you expect of a veteran, battle-tested team. Kevin Garnett was fantastic in the paint, Rajon Rondo controlled the flow. Their defensive intensity was stepped up. Boston won 101-91.

But this was another one of those nights where the Heat looked like the Cavaliers. There was a whole lot of LeBron James — 34 points and 8 rebounds — and nothing else. The rest of the Heat must have missed the flight.

And so Game 4 becomes a real test for the Heat. They have played these playoffs like a team that thinks it can just flip the switch. So far they have. But it’s a dangerous game because some day the power is not coming back on.

Can Miami get back to being a two-headed monster with Dwyane Wade and LeBron both attacking and aggressive? Because when they do that the role players — Udonis Haslem, Mario Chalmers, et al — find their comfort level as well. Like we saw Mike Miller do in the fourth quarter.

Wade is the real key here — he looked like the guy from before he had his knee drained, the guy from Game 2 of the Pacers series. Wade had no free throws in this game. He didn’t attack and get to the line once. Miami needs the aggressive Wade back.

If he shows up and if the Heat can beat a rejuvenated Celtics in Game 4 there is a lesson to be learned — the Heat can’t do this anymore if they want a ring. Not against a resilient Celtics squad that they have given new hope to; and especially not against the Spurs or the Thunder next round. There the Heat are the underdogs and there is a very small margin for error. They can’t take another night off.

Miami was pretty much terrible all the way around the block from the end of the first quarter on. They got outrun in transition by the old legs of the Celtics. Their defensive rotations fluctuated between slow and nonexistent. They kept switching on picks then the Celtics would expose the mismatch. Rondo came off those picks and there was nobody between him and the basket.

You run off your defense — there are no easy buckets or impressive alley-oops for Miami if they keep taking the ball out of the basket. Meanwhile in Game 3 the Celtics ran a lot, because they were getting stops.

Miami needs to flip the switch back to on for both Wade and their defense it before the next game. Boston is a team with confidence now, they are champions playing with desperation, they will be a tough out.

And Miami had better leave the switch on for the rest of the playoffs because if it gets switched to off for another game — this series or the next — they will find the power is not going to come back on.

  1. krose91 - Jun 2, 2012 at 3:12 AM

    The NBA paid Miami and San Antonio a little bit of money to let Boston and OKC win at least 2 games in the series. Two sweeps before the finals would have been a joke and the league would have lost a lot of TV money.

    • bahston - Jun 2, 2012 at 6:06 AM

      You sir are a trolling idiot. You do it well.

  2. canehouse - Jun 2, 2012 at 3:19 AM

    Are you kidding me… if you think the outcome was because the HEAT were complacent… you are a slack jawed drooling rube… the C’s were on fire tonight… and we didn’t give up. The headline in the nonsense rubbish suggests that the HEAT were just chilling… blasphemy! this is the ECF’s and it’s HEAT /Celts… every play counts!!!!

    • divan22 - Jun 2, 2012 at 3:48 AM

      I have no horse in this race (Warriors and Bucks fan), but it’s hilarious to me how simple-minded some writers are. Such media-driven baloney to suggest that the Heat are SO unstoppable that any game in which they’re outplayed was due to them “flipping the switch to off”, with the clear implication being that they really only lose when they don’t show up ready to play.

      These teams despise each other. You don’t think Miami would’ve absolutely LOOOVED to smash Boston on their home court and seize a 3-0 lead? Why would they “flip the switch” for this game? Does Kurt realize how stupid it is to assume that a team with 2 superstars should ALWAYS beat a team with less than 2 superstars, WHEN THE GAME IS 5 ON 5?

      Boston won Game 3 because they were the better team. Period. Not because the Heat weren’t didn’t prepare properly or show up committed to winning. The expectations for that team are unreal, to ridiculously ignorant levels *cough*Kurt*cough*, but I guess that’s what comes with having the greatest player of this generation (LBJ) on your team.

    • jimeejohnson - Jun 2, 2012 at 6:00 AM

      Ignore the lobotomized mental midgets who claim the game is fixed. They’re always there, waiting to spew their idiocy to other pea brains. You see their name, you ignore their BOZO posts like the plague.

      • gmsingh - Jun 2, 2012 at 8:48 AM

        Did the steroid guys in baseball get treated unfairly too? How about the bounty system on the New Orleans Saints? There is obviously a precedent for cheating in professional sports.

      • jimeejohnson - Jun 2, 2012 at 9:06 AM

        There’s a huge difference between the refs making bad calls and players using banned substances in order to gain a competitive advantage.

      • gmsingh - Jun 2, 2012 at 6:18 PM

        Yeah, that makes sense : one gives the team a competitive advantage, and the other gives a team a competitive advantage. Good job.

  3. 00maltliquor - Jun 2, 2012 at 5:16 AM

    1) I am not a Heat fan…I’m a devout Laker through and through! ( and through…)
    2) I LOOOVED The Decision (millions for a charity ’cause of the idiots who tuned in…CHECK!)
    3) LeBron is a choke artist, The Frozen One, the ringless king

    ….with that being said…..LeBron was playing the freaking CENTER position….are you kidding me!!!!
    CLE fans, back me up (and not the CLE fans that ONLY were fans since the day James was drafted, not you frontrunners that only backed the team afterwards unless you were born in the ’90s, then you get a pass…) I remember when LeBron came into the L as a friggin PG!!!!!!! YES, a PG! Then he moved shortly to SG, then he went to SF. He’s played PF sparingly, but dude played C today. Gimme a fricken break! That is historical!He’s done it before, but not for as long as he did today.

    Only Magic Johnson has done such, but daaaaaamn! Give the guy some hotdamn PROPS! And to the question can they turn it back on!???! Don’t play yourself Kurt! Heat in 6.

    AND with THAT being said, what I saw today…AIN’T no one from the East gonna win a championship this year. Believe that.

  4. cantonbound13 - Jun 2, 2012 at 6:32 AM

    It’s amazing what happens when the refs don’t put the Heat at the line 30-40 times a game.

    • sportsfannn - Jun 2, 2012 at 10:56 AM

      lol

      • sportsfannn - Jun 2, 2012 at 11:01 AM

        still cant believe LBJ in the playoffs is the top 5 in Minutes Played, Pts, Reb, Assists, Fouls Drawn, Blocks, FT attempts (1st), plays AND also guards the other teams best player……..but……..only averages 1.8 fouls per game. LOL. That’s 110th in the playoffs.

        Never has it happened where a player is top in minutes, and that low on fouls per game. Less than 2 fouls called against him per game. And MIA fans think that is normal SMH.

        Thank god the uproar by fans and even media sources (including hosts on SportsCenter right after game 2) forced officials to call a fair game 3.

    • caseybojangles - Jun 2, 2012 at 11:39 AM

      its actually amazing when other celts besides rondo show up and go to the paint unlike what they did in game 2 and like what the heat did in game 2.

      get over the officiating. when you go to the rack more, you get more calls, plain and simple. you don’t see the heat whining about the officiating when LBJ and Wade went to the line a grand total of 5 times (not 5 times for 2 shots mind you…5 total shots at the line) in game 3.

  5. homelanddefense - Jun 2, 2012 at 7:05 AM

    The theme of this article is ridiculous. If the refs could get out of their owm way this series would be 2-1 Boston

    • gmsingh - Jun 2, 2012 at 8:46 AM

      Agreed.

  6. thenmoveback - Jun 2, 2012 at 8:43 AM

    Haha u ppl r crazy, when the heat win it’s all the refs, when the C’s win it’s how good they r. . The C’s got all the calls yesterday. NBA know ratings r bad if the heat would go up 3-0. Heat in 5 still

  7. davidly - Jun 2, 2012 at 8:44 AM

    I don’t normally weigh in on foul vs. no-call disparity because it’s been obvious for decades that stars get the benefit of the doubt.

    And while one can sometimes see such disparity from the boxscore, you really gotta watch the game to see how it works; things that don’t show up in the stats have a huge influence over the outcome of the game: how early a team gets into the penalty, who gets in foul trouble, and an up to six point swing that occurs with a no-call on one end leading to a fast break going the other way.

    I’ve seen some pretty spurious officiating over the years, usually in favor of whoever the hotshots are at the time. But in all objective honesty, I have not seen the star calls so consistency called as they are for the Heat’s big two.

    • reesesteel23 - Jun 2, 2012 at 10:05 AM

      If you have never seen stars get calls on a consistant basis throughout the years….You just started watching basketball…..

      • davidly - Jun 2, 2012 at 10:10 AM

        I said “so consistently” not “consistently”. It’s a difference of degree.

      • davidly - Jun 2, 2012 at 10:13 AM

        Though I did seem to mangle the English language a bit on that one. At any rate, perhaps I should make that “so regularly” or even better “so frequently”.

    • caseybojangles - Jun 2, 2012 at 12:01 PM

      has your analysis taken into consideration that these two probably attack the basket more frequently than other stars and account for such a high percentage of the team’s offense? is all play equal in your analysis? let me submit to your data set one kobe bryant. a player who once attacked the basket regularly but his game has since evolved to be that of a jump shooter. he probably gets the most “star calls” than any one in the league. here’s STATS for the 2012 season

      FT Attempts PER GAME
      D Howard 10.6
      K Love 8.4
      LBJ 8.1
      Kobe 7.8
      Durant 7.6
      Blake Griffin 7.1
      Carmelo 6.7
      maggette 6.5
      westbrook 6.3
      d rose 6.1
      j wall 6.1
      d wade 6.1
      j harden 6

      forget that wade isn’t even in the top 10 in FT attempts, the common thread to most except for kobe who top the league in FTA is that they go to the basket

      • davidly - Jun 3, 2012 at 3:01 PM

        I’m not referring to number of free throws per game. Clearly those who drive to the hole get more calls. I’m talking about contact calls in general (going both ways). I’m talking about how often somebody walks (or carries the ball) and doesn’t get called for it as much as others who don’t make those violations any more often.

        Keep in mind that I am not talking about a conspiracy. “Benefit of the doubt” is the key point; the speed at which this game is played, the refs have their hands full, so they give the benefit of the doubt to supertalented players when they can’t tell what the hell happened.

        Nevertheless: In my view, Wade gets away with initiating blatant contact when on offense than any player I’ve seen, including Karl Malone and Michael Jordan. I exclude post-ups from this, because, well, posting up is pretty much football anyway.

        And James is just the logical evolution of what Jordan got away with: MJ had his hook, the bigger and stronger James has a bigger and stronger push-off.

        I don’t blame them, though. It’s an unfortunate development of the game. Magic Johnson was amazing but hardly ever pushed off to get open. Oscar Robinson? Forget about it. Dude was pure talent.

  8. rodge1 - Jun 2, 2012 at 9:06 AM

    Celtics were on fire, nice win for them. Miami came out a bit flat too. Would rather a longer series so Bosh can get more rest before the finals.

    • jimeejohnson - Jun 2, 2012 at 9:10 AM

      Celtics are not the Lakers, who go down with a whimper like weaklings. Miami has its hands full, and they know it. Betcha LeBron is not making any predictions. This series is up for grabs! The only team that has NO CHANCE to win is .,…The Lakers!

      • drewzducks - Jun 2, 2012 at 10:48 AM

        Have to disagree with you on this one. Who will ever forget game 6 of the 08 Finals when, facing elimination and an apparent insurmountable and unheard of for an NBA Finals elimination game deficit of 29 points after 3 quarters, the Lakers showed their true heart and fight and against all odds managed to claw their way back to a respectable final score of 131-92.

        Hey Jimee…great hair !

  9. reesesteel23 - Jun 2, 2012 at 10:04 AM

    Glad to see happy Celtics fans finally…..it was getting kind of Old hearing all the bi+chin’ about the refs.

  10. truthhurtstoo - Jun 2, 2012 at 11:09 AM

    Heat just got bored for a night. They have done this one game in every series so far. Don’t get too caught up homers in thinking the AARPer’s can win 3 more…. not likely.

  11. lakerluver - Jun 2, 2012 at 1:07 PM

    Wade seems to be aging rapidly. The fact that he hasn’t developed his game much past slashing to hole does not bode well for him as his athleticism and quickness slowly erodes. Sure, he can still explode for big games but he follows those explosive games up with mediocre ones.

    • infectorman - Jun 2, 2012 at 1:56 PM

      a good point!!! finally from the left coast faker luver

      He’s a career 77% FT shooter but is at 68% this year in the playoffs
      Since his game relies so heavily on getting to the line, particularly in Miami, his effectiveness is down. Still got some serious hops and skills though.

      If he would only stop being such a freakin’ primadonna about not getting Foul calls.

      He looks like Eli Manning before he lucked out with Tyree. always demonstrably frustrated and dejected when things don’t go his way.
      Grow up, Baby Wade!

  12. ezmagic - Jun 2, 2012 at 1:59 PM

    All superstars get a lot of calls. It’s been going on for decades. What everyone has been complaining about is how obvious these refs are missing calls or giving the heat a call when wade or James miss a shot.
    I saw a highlight from the last game where wade got his defender in the air on a pump fake, as he came down he missed wade. Wade then flopped his arms like he got fouled but the ref didn’t blow the whistle lol I was in shock and from the look on wade, he was too. HATE the heat

  13. steelymcbeam6 - Jun 2, 2012 at 3:54 PM

    Statistically all season long the heat got to the line more than the celtics, who were among the leagues worst at drawing fouls because they are a jump shot team while the heat attack the tin. It has nothing to do with the refs favoring the heat. If you attack the basket you get calls, if you shoot jumpers you don’t, that simple. That’s not opinion it’s pure fact.

  14. basketballfan4life - Jun 2, 2012 at 8:46 PM

    It is amazing how the same individuals that cried about miss calls or foul disparities in game 2, haven’t brought up the contrary when it all sided with the Celtic.

    I guess no Celtic fan saw Petrius, grab James at half court with the ref looking right at the play. No Call…

    Or the following play of Battier holding ground, not moving and being called for tripping. of course none of u saw those or the many other missed calls or bad calls against Miami. I am also sure that if u did see them, u feel they had no barring on the outcome of the game.

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