Sunday, November 4, 2012

Eastern Conference Finals - Celtics/Heat - Game 1

The Boston Celtics did everything they could--everything to catch up against a powerful Miami lead, and everything they could do to lose it all.

They were slow to get the rebound, terrible at finishing easy shots, and even more terrible at making an easier shot after they managed to get the rebound again!

Focus was not part of Boston's strategy tonight. Somehow, they miraculously caught up in the 4th quarter, despite a 12 point lead by Miami and repetitive failures to tie the game by Boston. Eventually, a crazy scramble for the ball led to Michael Beasley (25 points, on 50% shooting) hammering the ball through the net, giving Boston the lead for the first time in quite a while.

But Boston couldn't save the deal. A confused play with 8.8 seconds left in the 4th quarter led to a rushed shot by Richard Jefferson (17 points/9 rebounds) and a dreaded OVERTIME period against a Miami Heat team that Boston wanted no part of tonight.

Despite Miami breaking out to a 5 point lead, Boston called a timeout and turned to Paul Pierce, who had been cold all night on 1-11 shooting. Despite the hit/miss ratio, "The Truth" nailed a 3 pointer and a stop by Boston on the other end led to a second shot dropping courtesy of Pierce as the pro-Celtics crowd cheered, a momentary break from the hervous silence that had overtaken the TD Garden.

But Chris Bosh (24 points/18 rebounds) nailed a tough shot over Kevin Garnett, who made a myriad of mistakes all night, giving Miami a 2 point lead all over again. With only 4 seconds to get the ball up the court and fire a reasonable shot, the Celtics only achieved half to the challenge. Rajon Rondo (17 points/11 assists), who had been brutalized all night by Miami's defense, wasn't able to wow his way into the paint, getting blocked before the crowd could hold their breath and pray that a shot (had there been one) gone up in the air in hope of the ball falling into the basket.

The clock expired after Roy Hibbert fumbled the loose ball and Boston's ineptitude was finalized, losing 117-115 in OT on their own court. Not even the hit-and-miss three pointer show by Eddie House (5-11 from downtown) could change that. Boston shot 36% in the 1st quarter, 34% in the 3rd and missed 8 free throws. While Miami missed 9 of their own, coming up short at the line of mercy is unacceptable for Boston.

To make matters worse, Miami's x-factor, Ray Allen, splashed his way to 26 points against his former team, who would've killed to score some easy shots of their own. LeBron James had 23 points and 11 assists, tying Rondo, Udonis Haslem had 12 points & 19 rebounds and D-Wade had the same as LBJ plus a point. Clearly, Boston should've double-teamed him sooner. The Celtics will have to improve and quit making mindless mistakes if they stand a chance in winning Game 2.

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