Sometimes your best effort just isn’t good enough.
Such was the case for Rajon Rondo and the Boston Celtics in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Finals against the Miami Heat.
Miami defeated Boston in a game many are already calling an instant classic, 115-111 in overtime. The Celtics wasted Rondo’s video game like line of 44 points 10 assists and 8 rebounds in a heart breaking and defining loss.
Rondo played the entire game from start to finish (all 53 minutes) and if the Celtics were unsure if they can build around their All-star guard after the “Big 3″ retire, they got their answer tonight.
When asked about his performance Rondo shrugged it off like only he could by saying “It’s kind of irrelevant. We lost. It’s as simple as that”.
The statement couldn’t be more troubling and ironic at the same time for Boston.
The Celtics did lose to a Heat team that seems to have become a TEAM just at the right time. Sure LeBron James and Dwyane Wade are the two best players in the series (Rondo might have a problem with that statement) but the Heat won Game 2 behind their glue guys.
Mario Chalmers carried a struggling Miami offense in the first half with 14 of his 22 points. His play was instrumental in preventing the Celtics from blowing the game wide open when they led by as many as 15 in the first half.
Then the play of Udonis Haslem in the second half truly gave Miami the boost they needed to close Boston out. Haslem scored all of his 13 points in the second half while also grabbing 9 of his 11 total rebounds after halftime. He gave LeBron and Wade a reliable passing outlet when they were doubled and his clutch jumpers buried Boston down the stretch.
LeBron and Wade didn’t have an easy go of it as the Celtics game plan keyed in on limiting their easy touches. James still posted 34 points, 10 rebounds, and 7 assists but he shot just 7-20 from the floor while connecting on 18-24 from the line. Wade was bothered by Boston’s double teams to start the game but Doc Rivers called it off during Miami’s crucial third quarter run, much to the chagrin of anybody rooting for the Celtics. Wade finally got going after a 2 point first half to finish with 22 points and 6 rebounds.
Why Rivers didn’t double Wade the entire game only the basketball gods know. Miami did eventually counter the move by sending LeBron over to create an un-guardable pick and roll combination for the Heat.
The Celtics gave up 13 offensive rebounds which allowed the Heat to get 18 second chance points and all of them were timely and crippling for Boston. Another point of contention for Boston was the carry over of suspect officiating which saw Miami shoot 47 free throws to just 29 for the C’s. Keep in mind LeBron shot 24 free throws alone.
Yes, the Celtics are a jump shooting team but they have been going to the rim more than usual and they are not getting the calls. With the score tied in OT at 105 Rondo drove to the lane was hit in the head by Wade and missed the shot. No call.
That miss keyed a secondary break for Miami which gave Haslem a dunk for the go ahead basket and eventual win. Rondo would later say the call was an obvious foul but it’s all part of the game. I guess that play was the definition of home court advantage.
Boston now faces an 0-2 deficit with Game 3 on their home floor on Friday. Unfortunately the effort they exerted in this game may have been too much to mount much of a fight the rest of the series.
Paul Pierce fouled out with 21 points in 43 minutes, Kevin Garnett delivered 18 points and 8 rebounds in 45 minutes, and Ray Allen scored 13 points in 43 minutes as well. Those guys can’t continue to log those type of minutes and expect to be fresh down the stretch.
This was Boston’s best shot at a win. It was the best punch they could throw. Rajon Rondo can’t play like that again it was a career game and they still lost. Yet the Celtics will have to try (AGAIN) to give their best effort to beat the vaunted Heat.
But…sometimes…just read the first line again.
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