The conventional wisdom coming into this “Battle for the 2 seed” was that Miami needed it more than Boston did. The thinking behind that is Miami would not be able to mentally overcome 4 losses in the regular season should the two meet in the playoffs. It would appear the Heat took that thinking to heart while Boston, in typical fashion of late, cared little for the results of the game. The Heat flat out dominated the Celtics 100-77 on Sunday and now boast a one game lead over the struggling Celtics for the 2 seed in the Eastern Conference. The Celtics have had the rare opportunity to control their own fate during the final stretch of games this season and so far have come up losers in each game that has mattered.
Miami outscored Boston 79-55 in the final three quarters of the game after Boston held a 22-21 lead at the end of one. The Celtics offensive execution in the final 40 minutes was deplorable, credit the Miami defense. Dwayne Wade was exceptional defending Ray Allen and the rest of the Miami defense put a choke hold on whatever offensive sets the Celtics tried to execute. Rajon Rondo’s effort was non existent. He looked zombie like for most of the game finishing with 7 points and 5 rebounds which is the main reason the offense was so bad to begin with. Once again the Boston rebounding was a bad joke. The Celtics were dominated, I repeat dominated, on the glass which no matter how you slice it will be the death of this team in the playoffs like it was in the Finals last year. 42-26 if your counting at home. Boston managed a season low 10 rebounds in the first half with none of those being offensive. With no Shaq, a one legged Jermaine O’neal, a soft Nenad Kristic and an undersized Glen Davis the C’s gave up 15 offensive rebounds to the Heat. Boston was sloppy Despite the pleas of Coach Rivers to keep the game simple Boston played sloppy trying to make difficult passes and threw some passes with Heat defenders clearly in the passing lane. Careless and overconfident the C’s appeared as if they thought they would be able to turn it on against a Heat team that they had beaten 3 times already this season. That was not at all the case. Neither one of these teams are the same and Boston has regressed dramatically.
Boston has now played themselves into a corner. Trailing Miami for the 2 seed and facing a tough back to back in Washington tomorrow. The Wizards have all the incentive in the world to play spoiler and end Boston’s bid at catching Miami in the last two games of the season. Whats worse is that Boston will likely play the Knicks in the first round if the standings remain the same. The Celtics may have a chance to avoid that too if they decide to show up in the final game of the year which is against New York on Wednesday night. Boston is 3-0 vs the Knicks this year but they too are not the same team and could force Boston into a much longer series than they would like if they meet in the playoffs. While the 76ers are no push over and have also played the Celtics tight all year, their propensity to struggle on offense at times plays to the Celtics strength which is their defense. Boston will need to win both of their remaining games and get a loss from Miami in one of their final two games to still finish 2nd. Not likely and Boston only has themselves to blame.
About the Author
Written by Warren Shaw
I am an avid Basketball fan who has worked for the New York Knicks, Alonzo Mourning Charities and various other sports organizations. Having covered many NBA and various professional sporting events has given me the opportunity to provide insight with an unbiased but flavor driven view. I look forward to providing NBA content and interacting with knowledgeable fans and readers. Follow me on Twitter @shawsports or Email your questions to me at Warrenshaw@prosportsblogging.com