This was the game we all have been waiting on tonight, and it was as good as expected. The Miami Heat defeated the Boston Celtics 120 to 107 in the first chapter of Ray Allen's path of revenge. After all the drama, controversy, and rivalry talk in the summer, we get an action packed rematch of the Eastern Conference Finals and it could not have ended any better.
For those who are unconvinced of how good of a game this was, let's just show you how it started.
Yes, that actually happened, and at long last we finally get some rivalry fueled by some intense hatred.
I know this has been said, but the Heat look indestructible. Boston came out to play tonight, keeping the score close until the end and still couldn't be any farther from beating Miami. LeBron left the game early with another leg cramp early 4th quarter, and was still able to register a double double with 26 points and 10 rebounds. Remember when we all criticized him for his inconsistent jumper, well, it was hitting tonight.
Without the MVP, the rest of the roster stepped up. Dwyane Wade struggled early, but still managed to pour in 29 points (scored his 15,000th career point in this game) . Bosh sneaked in 19 points and Ray Allen just shredding his former team with 19 points, establishing himself as a potential 6th man of the year candidate. The all time leader in three pointers made, hit his first bucket in less a minute in to the game, and of course it was a buzzer beater (shot clock). He capitalized on his defenders, using his pump fakes at the three point line to create a space for a easy twos and it was unstoppable.
On the Boston side, Paul Pierce put in 23 points, looking surprisingly ageless in his 14th season and even pulled out a dunk in transition. Unfortunately for the Truth, he didn't get much help early, as Rondo refused to look for his shot in the 1st quarter, however, he ended up with 20 points and 13 assists, by being more aggressive in the second half.
Kevin Garnett was left out offensively finishing with 9 points and 12 boards, his defensive production is still just as stellar, without him the defense collapsed. Jeff Green couldn't pick up the effort on defense or offense, looking as lost as Danny Ainge when he signed him to that 36 million deal. I thought Brandon Bass should have gotten more touches, with Shane Battier guarding him, he can easily out power him and put in more than 15 points. And who wouldn't want to see him dunk more, looking like he is always about to get rim stuffed with that low vertical of his.
The entire game was in Miami's control dominating on both ends of the floor. Boston made a late run (7-0) with Leandro Barbosa (16 points) pushing the ball on the floor, but it wasn't enough to spoil the glorious return of the reigning champions. The Celtic's depth that has been raved about all summer, didn't make a dent. Terry was out of control to start, throwing away passes and contributed to Boston's 16 turnovers to Heat's 8.
Funny things of note:
- Norris Cole's flat top could not be any more leveled.
- I am a 100% sure, NBA made a thicker headband just for LeBron.
- TNT really likes to film LeBron drinking his Gatorade, which was useless in helping him prevent cramps.
- Rashard Lewis's facial hair is disgusting and his jump shot is still super weird.
- Rondo pulled a Raja Bell on Dwyane Wade out of frustration.
- Kevin Garnett got a technical for faking an elbow to Mario Chalmers.
- Paul Pierce didn't take advantage when Mike Miller and his deteriorated body was guarding him.
- Wade complained just about every singe call and non call.
Miami returned to their strengths in the half court, using LeBron as the post to draw defenders close to kick out to more capable shooters. If they don't go to the post, they use the shooters to spread the floor for either Dwyane Wade and LeBron to attack the basket. They did run a similar double screen play Boston used to run for Ray Allen, but they abandoned that early when he was able to find his own offense. Their main weapon is still transition. They move the ball so quick, it is almost unbelievable. When they push against a unsettled defense, there is no doubt the ball will end up in the basket.
Without Ray Allen to use as a decoy, Boston had to find a new offense. It mainly incorporates Rondo and Paul Pierce. Rondo obivously does Rondo things, weaving through the defense to find the wide open guys. If the ball lands in Paul Pierce's hands, he will either go for an iso, or a high post up that forces Heat's attention, allowing him to look for cutters.
The Heat is not only fast on offense, they are ridiculous with their rotations. They can afford to double and still recover just in time. Their specialty is still a ball handler trap at the top corner of the court, forcing lots of turnovers on any guard that is not prepared.
Boston is without out a doubt still a great defensive team, but against a team loaded with this many weapons, they can only hope to slow them down. They like to double up on the stars for obvious reasons, rather risk the kick out then an easy basket. They have great communication for smooth rotations and props to Courtney Lee for his defense on Wade, that really bothered the star early in the game.
Sulllinger is not ready, at least not against the heat. He might need to be in better shape, because he is a bit slow guarding Chris Bosh.