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Heat-Celtics Game 6: It has to be LeBron/Wade show for Heat to survive

Jun 7, 2012, 12:46 PM EDT

Miami Heat's James and Wade react after a play against the Boston Celtics during the first half in Game 3 of their Eastern Conference Finals NBA basketball playoffs in Boston Reuters

In all the schadenfreude over watching the Miami Heat lose and seem to unravel, one thing seems to be consistently overlooked — the Boston Celtics are a really good defensive team. They were second in the league in points allowed per possession, they blow up pick-and-rolls, they are tough to score on in isolation. They slow down everyone. They were going to slow down the Heat.

But if LeBron James and Dwyane Wade are really on there is no defense that can stop them.

And that’s what this series has come down to for the Heat — they need LeBron and Wade to be exceptional to win. Not good, like combining to score 57 points on 47 shots in Game 5, they need to be world beaters. Both of them. Every game. They need to put up 65 at least between them and hope that Chris Bosh can pitch in more (he will play more).

Those two especially are going to have to do that on the road in Game 6 because the Heat can’t count on anyone else. If they are going to force a Game 7 it will because the Heat’s stars carried Game 6.

Boston’s offense has looked solid enough the last few games against the Heat, most of that due to Rajon Rondo. He is running the pick-and-roll beautifully with Kevin Garnett (getting KG easy looks rolling to the rim or open spot up 18 footers), he is hitting a few outside shots and he is controlling the flow of this series. Throw in some good buckets from Paul Pierce and Ray Allen and it’s good enough.

Miami is helping out with defensive lapses — often ones of effort. How many times did the old legs of Boston just outrun the Heat players down he floor in Game 5? Dwyane Wade was not alone but was the most prominent guy just getting beat down court, forced into bad matchups because of it that Rondo and the Celtics exploit. That’s not on coach Erik Spoelstra, either — if you can’t get fired up for Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Finals to bust it every single play there is nothing a coach can do.

Remember, the Heat entered this season wanting to up the tempo — play pressing defense, force turnovers, get out in transition and overwhelm with their athleticism. We saw that kind of defense in Game 1 and the second half of Game 4 from Miami, but that’s it. It was supposed to be their identity, but it isn’t. Not every game, not every play. The committment and effort are not there.

And at the end of the day, that is what this series is about. Boston is a good team that will play good defense and give you maximum effort every night. They will be the best team they can be.

Miami plays like it can flip the switch. But that switch almost never stays on for a full game. They will have a fantastic quarter then go back to coasting on both ends, something they can still win doing in the regular season but it leads to bad habits. The Heat are very self-conscious and that can throw off their confidence in a heartbeat. The Celtics will just put their head down and fight through those kinds of stretches.

Which is why you have to think Boston has the edge at home – this will be their best effort, best game of the series. That’s still not good enough to beat Miami’s best, but do you really think we’ll see that for 48 minutes at both ends of the floor? Do you really think this is the night Wade and LeBron both show up and play their best games? I’m just not sold.

  1. diablito0402 - Jun 7, 2012 at 1:02 PM

    Hasnt it been the lbj/wade show all year. Thats why role players dont get involved and dont get in to a rhythm. Because its a two man show with bosh getting a piece now and then. COME ON KURT, we know this already, something new please lol..

  2. buffalowned - Jun 7, 2012 at 1:02 PM

    Miami wins tonight

    • cantonbound13 - Jun 7, 2012 at 2:38 PM

      Because LeBron is so clutch in big games

      • buffalowned - Jun 7, 2012 at 4:36 PM

        let’s see what you have to say around 11 pm

      • buffalowned - Jun 7, 2012 at 11:12 PM

        yeah that’s what i thought

  3. shockexchange - Jun 7, 2012 at 1:05 PM

    Pulling for the Heat. Yet if they lose, Lebron could enhance his summer reading with “Shock Exchange: How Inner City Kids From Brooklyn Predicted The Great Recession And The Pain Ahead” due out in July http://clicky.me/78CI

    • blueintown - Jun 7, 2012 at 1:25 PM

      First rule of business: Know your market. Socioeconomic examinations are not high on the list of people who spend their days posting poorly worded jokes about LeBron James’ mother.

      • shockexchange - Jun 7, 2012 at 6:18 PM

        Actually it was take on Lebron’s summer reading list. He has read the Hunger Games’ trilogy and the Tipping Point. It would only fair that he read my book since after reading my post on the “Lebron Rules” http://clicky.me/TheLebronRules , he became the best basketball player on the planet.

      • florida727 - Jun 7, 2012 at 7:15 PM

        Yeah, I’m sure it’s because he read YOUR book.

        Quit whoring out your crap on a blog site. Nobody on here will buy whatever you’re attempting to sell, in case you haven’t figured that out yet.

    • davidly - Jun 7, 2012 at 3:11 PM

      So, a book about foresight comes out years too late. Sure to be a classic.

  4. charlutes - Jun 7, 2012 at 1:16 PM

    duh.

  5. rodge1 - Jun 7, 2012 at 1:16 PM

    Miami will need to be on their best team-defense. Should be a helluva-fight tonight.

  6. mikeewright7 - Jun 7, 2012 at 1:18 PM

    “Which is why you have to think Boston has the edge at home – this will be their best effort, best game of the series. That’s still not good enough to beat Miami’s best”

    Really yet were (meaning Boston and their fan base) up 3-2
    to be honest this series should be over game 2 was David Stern calling the refs to give Miami those calls in OT, noway in hell Miami should of won Game 2,
    Last Year Wade pulled a desperation move and injured Rondo, this year we are getting REVENGE

    #TEAMCELTICS!!!!!!!

  7. rick1v - Jun 7, 2012 at 1:19 PM

    For a guy that is scoring 30/game, why do I feel like LeBron doesn’t force the issue enough?

    Also, I completely agree with Drew Magaray on enjoying LeBron schadenfreude. It’s completely ruined by the fact it’s making Boston fans happy.

    • lucky5934 - Jun 7, 2012 at 2:53 PM

      The only thing wrong with Lebron going for 30 is that he should be going for 40. He takes what the defense gives him instead of being aggressive and taking it to them more.

      • mogogo1 - Jun 7, 2012 at 4:29 PM

        This. Like 1,000 times over. LeBron’s got a freakish body that a Greek god would envy but he’s just so tentative most of the time. In the Indiana series he said how much he missed Bosh because it was so rough playing down low. Can’t even imagine any all-time great saying something like that. Even if they thought it, they sure wouldn’t say it out loud.

  8. jumpingpolarbear - Jun 7, 2012 at 1:25 PM

    Can the big 3 and rondo close the series out? And what will happen to the Heat if they fail?

  9. mungman69 - Jun 7, 2012 at 1:34 PM

    STOP crying about the refs. Boy

  10. infectorman - Jun 7, 2012 at 1:34 PM

    “Which is why you have to think Boston has the edge at home – this will be their best effort, best game of the series. That’s still not good enough to beat Miami’s best”
    ___

    Helin, you are such a Hack Fan-Boy it is disgraceful.

    You are reaching for and imagining some off-in-the-clouds performance the Heat put on The Knicks or BobCats when you write sentences like that.

    You conjure up fantasies of the perfect Heat game that are not remotely close to reality to write a story. Bush league writing, period.

    Guess what- Miami has given Boston its best 5 times now and lost 3 of those.
    No excuses, no “reasons-why”, they are down. Boston has been 1 game better thus far.
    Get yo damn head out of the clouds!!!

  11. gmsingh - Jun 7, 2012 at 1:35 PM

    Whatever you say, Kurt–if the Celtics play good defense, what you are saying it just means Bobsy Twins “weren’t on their game”. And, of course, it’s all about indivdual effort and not about superior coaching. What a load of hooey.

  12. southbeachtalent - Jun 7, 2012 at 1:42 PM

    If Bosh can play atleast 20-25 min (effectively) and we can hit our freakin free throws we will be in decent shape. However LeBron is 0-4 when down 3-2 and Wade is 0-3 when down 3-2. Not very confident we will pull this off. It would take a monumental effort.

    Go Heat?

    • 1972wasalongtimeago - Jun 7, 2012 at 6:38 PM

      Hey bro. Gotta tell you I I have a really bad feeling. This isn’t a reverse jinx (or is it?).

  13. ss3walkman - Jun 7, 2012 at 1:58 PM

    If Boston takes the series, Spoelstra is done as coach. 3 years and no title? And the contracts of James and Bosh expiring soon Patrick Riley will be forced to coach to get these guys a title and get them to stay.

    • scrot7 - Jun 7, 2012 at 2:24 PM

      2 years with the big three. No one expected a title in his first season.

      • cantonbound13 - Jun 7, 2012 at 2:35 PM

        they expected not1, not 2, not 3….

      • ss3walkman - Jun 7, 2012 at 4:11 PM

        I think after Boston came together and won their title in one year, most peoole would agree they believed Miami would have won a title within three years. And I’m sure that was the expectation in Miami’s three coming together in the first place. I’m sure it was the assurance of multiple titles being won. With Chicago and the upcoming Knicks and Pacers in the East and OKC, Lakers, Grizzlies, Clippers and so fourth in the west Miami needs to change some things and it starts with the coach.

    • southbeachtalent - Jun 7, 2012 at 3:14 PM

      That would be 2 years, and while I agree Spo is in over his head here, we don’t have the big 3. It’s not an excuse, just some perspective.

      I think Riley keeps him around. Phil is definitely NOT coming, and Pat has fired both Van Gundy brother’s once already. What better option is there?

      Lets give some credit to Boston as well. This team is playing great. When KG, Pierce, Allen and Rondo are clicking they are hard to stop. We can’t compete when our 3rd best player is in street clothes. And we all know we have no depth. That’s what we signed up for.

  14. thetooloftools - Jun 7, 2012 at 2:21 PM

    Hey Tin Man (LeBron), you better find a heart or The Heat are toast. Sorry to see your having such a terrible time since you left us and danced around with your buddies to rap music, bright lights, and a fog machine and then sat down and told everyone how many championships you were going to win.
    How’s that tasting?
    You brought this all on yourself… time to step up or get stepped on Mr. Wolrd Wide Brand.
    Signed
    The 216 and 440

    • blueintown - Jun 7, 2012 at 2:27 PM

      Oh my god, this is insufferable. Why on earth do Clevelanders think so highly of themselves?

    • southbeachtalent - Jun 7, 2012 at 3:16 PM

      He wasn’t doing much better over by the mistake by the lake. At least he has a better view and better weather..

      Besides, why are you guys so crushed over a “choker” leaving your team? You should be relieved?

  15. cantonbound13 - Jun 7, 2012 at 2:34 PM

    It better be Wade in the fourth quarter or the Heat have no shot

  16. cosmicatomic - Jun 7, 2012 at 2:34 PM

    This is what LeBron signed up for.

    He thought it was going to be easy. In fact, I’m pretty sure he said exactly that during the infamous free agent celebration. This is going to be easy. And something about how they were so good that Pat Riley could come back and play because all he would have to do is throw alley-oops.

    It’s soooo difficult to figure out why the Heat have no team chemistry.

  17. canehouse - Jun 7, 2012 at 2:48 PM

    LFG!!!! Be it or Be made!!!!

    • southbeachtalent - Jun 7, 2012 at 3:21 PM

      We need Spo to go crazy on these guys. I mean throwing things, kicking over trash cans, tearing his shirt off and eating it!! Something!!! Show some freakin emotion!!!

      Every time they listen in on Spo it sounds so boring and unemotional..

      When they listen in on Doc I get pumped!!

  18. lucky5934 - Jun 7, 2012 at 2:55 PM

    I have a bad feeling the Heat take the next two. I hope not, but you never know. Just an eerie feeling.

    • berbes - Jun 7, 2012 at 3:54 PM

      cub fan :) ?

  19. scalfor3 - Jun 7, 2012 at 3:10 PM

    yeah. the odds favor boston, but i’ll be nervous until they clinch the series. people are assuming the heat are just gonna lie down tonight. not gonna happen. almost every game has been close.

    tonight should be a battle. go C’s

  20. lakerluver - Jun 7, 2012 at 4:03 PM

    It’s all over for the “Heatles” and their lame, bandwagon fans!! Maybe tonight Wade and LeBron will join Posh in falling to the floor in tears like he did last year!!!

  21. illegalblues - Jun 7, 2012 at 4:06 PM

    “Which is why you have to think Boston has the edge at home – this will be their best effort, best game of the series. That’s still not good enough to beat Miami’s best”

    The Celtics beat Miami earlier this year in an absolute LeBron/Wade firefight. Get real, son. I recommend gettin’ on Durant’s jock some more.

  22. diamondmo33 - Jun 7, 2012 at 4:15 PM

    Heat in 7.

  23. mogogo1 - Jun 7, 2012 at 4:18 PM

    “But if LeBron James and Dwyane Wade are really on there is no defense that can stop them.”
    _____________________________________

    Haven’t the Heat lost the last three straight trying to prove that point? And your advice is for them to continue and try to prove it? Have a nice offseason, guys…

    It’s almost comical how bad that advice is. While the rest of the world has realized that 3 superstar individuals aren’t enough to do it alone, you’re suggesting that really 2 is all they need.

  24. Kiwi - Jun 7, 2012 at 4:37 PM

    I agree, the Heat need to change that attitude of “no one can stop us” to a more humble and lead by more of an example. I don’t think they need to play outstanding but rather have an outstanding game where they lead and make their team better. Miami Heat don’t lack in bench, especially now that rotations are cut to just 7 or 8. They lack in more..

    I just wrote this article, if anyone is interested in reading it,
    I invite Kurt Helin to read it too

    http://nbaswish.wordpress.com/2012/06/07/break-it-down-why-miami-heats-season-may-end-tonight/

  25. steelymcbeam6 - Jun 7, 2012 at 4:42 PM

    Ok? So nothing’s changed….

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