Boston Celtics vs. Miami Heat. Opening night of 2010-2011 season. Oh yeah Baby.
In case you were stranded on a desert island with John Locke, Jack, and Sawyer this summer, Lebron made his decision on national TV and abandoned Cleveland for Miami and joined Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh. A new Big Three was formed. The original Big Three, Allen, Pierce, and KG, fell short in the NBA finals and were coming into this season with a renewed focus and a new teammate in Shaquille O’Neal. The NBA Powers that Be are obviously no fools. Brilliant marketing by the NBA to have one of the marquee teams in the NBA, the Celtics, kick off the season against the revamped Miami Heat.
I have to be honest; I completely bought into the hype for this game. It’s ridiculous really because it’s only game 1 of the season and already one game felt like it will have playoff implications. It won’t but sure felt that way. Tonight, a rivalry was born.
The Celtics were dominant in the first half. What a way to start the season. Team defense is what Celtic basketball is all about and it was on lock down tonight. The “mighty” Heat were held to 9 pts in the first quarter. That’s right, 9 points. The Celtics’ defense was fluid, constantly in motion, more often than not in the right place at the right time. They rebounded, blocked shots, drew charges, created turnovers. The Heat looked out of sync and confused. On the other side of the ball, the Celtics offense looked to Shaq down low and Ray Allen from downtown. The Celtics stretched their lead in the second quarter and finished the half leading 45 to 30.
In the 3rd quarter, Celtics led by as much as 19 points but then the Heat made an adjustment by having Lebron play the point and it worked. Lebron took over the game in the 3rd and there was not much the Celtics could do about it, especially when the refs are refusing to call a charge on Lebron. On a fast break Lebron with a full head of steam, ran over Paul Pierce who clearly had position, instead the refs called a blocking foul. Very frustrating. The Celtics lost their focus on the offensive end and the Heat took advantage. The Heat finished the 3rd quarter strong and at end of the 3rd, the Celtics only led by 6 points, Boston 63 – Miami 57.
In the 4th quarter, both teams traded shots. Every time the Heat would get close, Paul Pierce answered right back with a big three pointer. Pierce would finish with 19 points, 11 in the 4th quarter. Lebron made a driving layup with 1:09 left cutting the lead to Boston 83 – Miami 80. Doubt crept into my mind. No way can the Celtics lose this game after playing so great in the first half. And the thought of Lebron, Wade, and Bosh celebrating a win was starting to make me nauseous. With the score 83-80 and the Celtics with the ball with under a minute left, the Celtics made the play of the night. With the 24 second clock dwindling down Pierce found Allen in the corner for a huge three. Even Ray Allen’s Mom jumped up after that three.
The Celtics went on to win 88 to 80. Lot of positives to take away from this game. The Celtics held the Heat to 36% fg. Shaq played very well. The bench contributed. Pierce found his shot in the 4th. Ray Allen shot great from three point range. Rajon Rondo finished with 17 assists.
The Boston fans were chanting “Overrated” at the end of the game. As much as I would love to believe that to be true, the Heat are not overrated and will likely figure out their offense during the season. But, Boston sent a message tonight that they are not ready to hand over the Eastern Conference to the Heat without a fight.
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Written by johnw