The Eastern Conference Finals have been a mockery in officiating for both teams and an exercise in raising the blood pressure of all interested parties.
This heart attack inducing series is now tied 2-2 after the Celtics held off (and came back against) the Heat 93-91 in overtime.
Dwyane Wade (20 points, 7 rebounds, and 6 assists) missed what would have been the game winning 3 pointer when Marquis Daniels sailed by on a pump fake as time expired in overtime.
The list of Celtics heroes runs deep as just about everybody who played made an impact on the game offensively or defensively. Kevin Garnett was impressive giving Boston 17 points, 15 rebounds, and 5 blocks. Doc Rivers often talks about KG’s importance to Boston offensively but his defense is just as vital. Rivers acknowledged that fact after the game calling KG a “linebacker” for the way he calls out their defense. Without him on the floor Miami attacks the basket at will as the Celtics play matadors and scream ole.
Rajon Rondo dominated the first half and finished the game with 15 points and 15 assists. He dissected the Heat defense in the first 24 minutes finding his teammates on impossible passes controlling the pace of the game. In the 2nd half he made two tough floaters to give the struggling Boston offense a much needed lift when the Heat seemingly seized control of the game.
Paul Pierce scored 23 but had to watch most of the overtime period after fouling out on a questionable offensive foul drawn by Shane Battier. The play occurred at the 4:22 mark of the overtime session but somehow the Celtics were able to regroup for the win.
LeBron James (29 points and 6 rebounds) fouled out of a playoff game for the first time in his career during the overtime period on one of many perplexing calls during the game. He got entangled with Mickael Pietrus on a post up attempt and fell backwards as Pietrus engaged him. That call changed momentum towards the favor of the Celtics as Miami had to depend on Wade who had been struggling the majority of the game.
The Celtics have been very successful in this series due to their ability to make LeBron a scorer first. Not allowing James to be a facilitator has made all the difference for Boston and Miami’s offense is struggling as a result.
Boston started the game hot and focused offensively scorching the Heat for 61 first half points. Ray Allen (16 points) and Keyon Dooling (10 points) helped the offensive cause by nailing 5 combined triples in the first half. The Celtics led by as many as 18 before Miami’s defense clapped down in the 2nd half limiting Boston to just 32 points over the final 29 minutes.
Even with that offensive brutality, the Celtics persevered and now have the Heat on the ropes heading towards Game 5 on Tuesday night. Chris Bosh is rumored to be nearing a return and could very well do so as the Heat attempt to avoid losing 3 straight playoff games. Another loss for Miami would certainly bring into question their killer instinct or lack there of. The Heat can’t afford to face elimination on Boston’s home court in a Game 6. They just aren’t mentally tough enough for that yet.
This has been a series of adjustments and Coach Spolestra has the next move in this game of chess. Is Bosh the next play to give the Heat the checkmate they so desire?
Doc Rivers and the Celtics will be ready. They always have been.
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