Miami Heat Takes Celtics’ Best Punch
They played with the desperation of the 6%, with the knowledge that falling into a 0-2 hole would prove to be too gigantic of an obstacle to overcome. They played with intensity, focus, aggressiveness, and desperation. And one man above all, Rajon Rondo, played the game of a lifetime. No matter, the Heat took the Celtics best punch but did not get knocked out. The Heat’s two stars Wade and LeBron are just too thick and strong. In the end, it was they that came back and delivered what could have been a blow too difficult to overcome. The fight’s not quite over, but with Miami prevailing in overtime in Game 2, its the Celtics that are now on the ropes.
In NBA playoff history, only 6% of teams facing a 0-2 deficit have rallied to win a 7 game series. The odds are even more against this particular Boston team due to their razor thin roster, a team which has been depleted by injuries throughout the course of the season. It was those two factors that inspired Boston’s to perhaps its best performance of these playoffs, and even then it wasn’t enough. It was the Heat that proved to be more resilient, coming back twice against the Celtics in a thrilling see-saw game.
Rondo played the game of his life. A notoriously weak shooter, he tallied 44 points (on 16 of 24 shooting from the field), 10 assists (to three turnovers) and eight rebounds. He carried the Celtics on his back and nearly won the game single-handedly, scoring all 12 points in overtime. On a team that is barely alive and certain to be dismantled next year, he proved (along with his incredible performance in last year’s playoffs against the same Heat team after dislocating his elbow) that he has both the talent and toughness to go with his other unique set of skills. A player who was on the trading block just 2 months ago, Rondo has now cemented his status as the player the Celtics should build around.
Rondo was involved in the most controversial play of the night. With the game tied at 105 in overtime, he drove the lane and was obviously fouled across the head by Wade. No blood, no foul. The Heat went back the other way and took a 2 point lead.
“We all thought he got hit — I’ll say it,” said Ray Allen. “He did, but what can you do about it?”
“That was a big swing for us,” said Rondo. “I think we had the momentum. A lot of controversy out there. Just didn’t go our way.”
On the following Heat possession, Wade used a screen by James to drive past Rondo before running in a three-point play while being knocked down by Garnett. Wade glared up at Garnett as he got back on his feet, and then he made the free throw to make it 110-105 with a minute left. That play also had some controversy as the debate raged whether KG fouled Wade before Wade kicked KG.
The 6 point turnaround in a close game unhinged the Celtics.
While Rondo had to be restrained when he tried to go after the official, Boston GM Danny Ainge did not hold back, going after the NBA VP of refereeing operations Joe Borgia. LeBron James went to the line 24 times while the entire Boston team went only 29 times. The foul disparity aside, it was the non-call that proved decisive. Look for the Celtics to get a lot more calls at home for Game 3.
So Boston can get back in this ? What will they have after having spent so much energy and emotion in the Game 2 loss ? Can they overcome the two Heat superstars and also keep the Heat bench at bay ?
Losing Game 3 would be the final dagger in this Series. Nobody comes back from a 0-3 deficit. As Doc Rivers put it:
“It’s at stake for both teams. You can never take any season for granted. Hell, we win this series, it may not be the same Miami team next year. Really. I tell players that all the time. There is no guarantee for next year. Every year you have to play like this is the last time this group you’re with will ever play together. And most of the time that’s going to be true, whether you win or lose. So, I think we understand that but I think they do, too, and so, I think both teams feel that type of pressure.’’
While I agree with what Rivers said, I don’t think the Celtics can win the Series. I think they can win Game 3, but not 4 out of 5 from Miami. I would believe if they had Avery, and Green, and Wilcox, and O’Neal. Hell I’d believe a lot more if they just had Avery back.