Heat crumble when it counts, drop heartbreaker to Boston

I'm not sure how to start this off...if you saw the game then I'm sure you understand.  The most noticable thing before the game started was that Carlos Arroyo was still in uniform, meaning the Heat elected to hang on to him and pay up the $500k that he will now recieve for playing the remainder of the season.  Good, classy move by a franchise that I'd expect nothing less from.  Now, to the (glup) game....

The two question-marked starters combined on the Heat's first bucket, as Carlos Arroyo found Jermaine O'Neal for a 15-footer.  Shortly after, Jermaine got loose for a nice breakaway slam, and on the next Heat possession Arroyo again found O'Neal down low for another dunkaroo.  He'd score 6 of the Heat's first 8 points but would get sent to the bench with 2 fouls less then 6 minutes into the game. 

Our old friend Rasheed Wallace got going early and led the Celtics on a 10-3 run that put them up 17-16.  The game was a tight, back and fourth battle in the 1st, which was fine by me.  Mike Beasley was called for his 2nd foul late in the quarter.  He started the game an icky 0-for-3 and was visibly upset for having to sit down.  Of course, Udonis Haslem came in for Beas and instantly hit one of his signature 20-foot J's. 

Dwyane Wade began to heat up very quickly late in the 1st quarter, scoring 16 points in the final 6 minutes of the quarter and finishing it with 18 points on 8-of-12 shooting.  His 8 points in the final 2:35 of the quarter led the Heat on a 10-3 run over that span, putting them up 35-30 after 1. 

The 2nd quarter wasn't very exciting, with missed shots and turnovers dominating the early stages.  Four minutes into the quarter the two teams had scored a total of 11 points; quite the contrast from the high-scoring 1stMichael Beasley finally got on the score sheet about half way through the 2nd, on his 5th attempt in his 13th minute. 

D-Wade wasn't nearly as effective in the 2nd quarter as he was in the 1st, but he was getting to the free throw line, which is definitely a step in the right direction.  Sure, he only made 5-of-10 in the 1st half, but it's something.  He also drilled a trey just before the half to bring the Heat to within 3 at 57-54, his 2nd triple of the half. 

Michael Beasley couldn't get anything going in the 3rd quarter either, again getting called for 2 quick fouls and finding his way back to the bench.  Neither team was playing amazingly well, but the game was still tight and I was hoping for at least an exciting ending.  Unfortunately, half way through the quarter the Celtics began to stretch their lead.  No surprise as the Heat were just 2-of-8 from the field at that point of the quarter. 

Miami suddenly woke up coming out of a timeout, hitting 4-straight shots and going on a 9-2 run in less then 2 minutes to get to within a point of Boston at 71-70.  The Heat were keeping pace with the Celtics despite getting just 9 points from Beasley and Q combined. 

A helpful tip-in by Rasheed Wallace and a Udonis jumper later, the Heat got the lead back for the first time in a while.  Over the last 6 minutes of the 3rd quarter the Heat outscored Boston 17-6 and turned an 8-point deficit into a 3-point lead heading into the final period.  It was a very sudden turnaround that got the AAA fans into the game at just the right time. 

The Heat came out hard in the 4th, extending their lead from 3 to 9 in the 4+ minutes that D-Wade was on the bench.  Wade came in and quickly assisted on another long J by Udonis, pumping the Heat lead up to 11.  Boston came right back with 5 quick points as a reminder not to get content, and D-Wade responded with a furious attack of the basket which resulted in a pair of made free throws. 

Miami was up 6 with six minutes left and controlled the ball for almost 90 seconds, grabbing 4 offensive boards but unable to get a score, missing a ridiculous 6 shots in that sequence.  Ray Allen quickly responded with a trey, and Boston used a 10-2 run to get right back with 3 points after trailing by 11 just a few minutes before.

It makes me a little sick seeing some of the shots go down that Boston was hitting...not really because it was against the Heat, more so because the Heat don't have anybody who they can count on to hit those big time long jumpers at the end of games.  It seems that every team has a guy or even two that hit those shots, but not so much for the Heat. 

The cold shooting was killing the Heat, and then a really bad call almost set me off.  Quentin Richardson was playing man-up D on Paul Pierce when he took an elbow to the face, with no other contact.  Q was called for the foul and then T-ed up.  Gotta love it when the refs take control of an otherwise good basketball game.  I guess since the Heat were getting favorable calls earlier, the guys in grey decided to tip the scales.

Gotta love the team player that Rasheed Wallace is.  After fouling out with 70 seconds left, he had to be held back by teammates so not to be called for a technical foul.  A close game in the final seconds...what a guy that Sheed is.  Oh well, they still had cold blooded Ray Allen out there to drill barely open triples, which he did with under a minute left to put Boston up by 4. 

Knowing that any miss would likely cost the game, the Heat moved the ball very well and got Jermaine O'Neal an open look from about 15-feet, which he drilled.  Boston took the ball up the floor with about 10 seconds between the game clock and the shot clock.  Paul Pierce held the ball and took the clock all the way down, but great defense by Q-Rich held Pierce to a very tough look, which he airballed. 

Wade came down with the rebound and ran the court, driving and getting fouled with 5.5 seconds left.  D-Wade drilled both foul shots, tying the game at 99.  What happened next was just awesome.  First it was Wade stealing the ball from Ray Allen and getting a breakaway, dunking home what we all thought was the game winner, leaving just 0.6 seconds on the clock. 

Unfortunately, that was plenty of time for Boston, who ran a sick play that started with a Paul Pierce lob from out of bounds to Rajon Rondo at the rim, who tipped the pass in as time expired and sending the game to overtime, the first time this season the Heat would play any extra time.

Wade started the OT with another steal and breakaway dunk, pushing his point total to 41.  Those would be the only points the Heat would score for a while in OT, with both teams shooting 1-for-5 through the first 3 min of the extra period.  A Kendrick Perkins free throw would be the difference heading into the last 2 minutes with Boston up 104-103. 

The Heat just couldn't hit anything, with J-O missing back-to-back J's (including a really poor shot selection), then Q missed a wide open trey that would've tied the game.  Rajon Rondo scored pretty easily on the other end and suddenly the Heat were down 5 with under a minute left after leading by 2 with under a second left in the 4th quarter. 

Dwyane Wade breathed life back into the Heat with a quick trey, his 3rd of the game, and the lead was just 2 for Boston with 51 ticks left. Unfortunately, the Heat still had Mario Chalmers guarding Rondo, who again just blew by Rio pretty effortlessly and scored an easy floater to put Boston up by 4.  Wade missed a three and that was that. 

This felt like a giant reminder of what the Heat are trying to become.  They couldn't hit anything down the stretch when Boston hit seemingly every big shot.  The Heat couldn't draw up any good looking plays when they needed to score, and Boston was coming up with amazing yet easy looking plays.  It's just sickening how they can play so well for so long and still blow it.  Games like this are why basketball is nowhere near my favorite sport. 

I love it, don't get me wrong, but any sport where you can play awesome for 95% of the game and still lose is just no fun for me.  Way too often do teams who are leading by double digits crumble in literally the final seconds...then what is the point of busting your ass for the first 3½ quarters?  I know I'm just venting, and if you disagree with me of course I understand. 

GAME NOTES

  • Wade finished with 44 points but couldn't hit much of anything in the 4th quarter or overtime.  He was 0-for-7 in the 4th before slamming what should've been the game winning dunk with 0.6 left. 
  • Wade's 18 1st quarter points were a season-high for points in a quarter.
  • The Heat went 1-for-16 in crunch time (final minutes of the game) 
  • Now I remember why I hated Rasheed Wallace so much when he was playing for the Pistons
  • What's with Michael Beasley?  One game he looks like the next big superstar in the NBA, then he craps the bed for a while.  5 points on 2-of-8 in 25 minutes?  Just 5 rebounds?  Get it together Beas, we could've used some of those points.
  • How amazing would Carlos Arroyo seem if he could hit mid-range jumpers the way Jason Williams could? 
  • I really hope that Rafer Alston is ready to play some D, because we have absolutely nothing to offer at the point guard position when it comes to defending.  NOTHING.  
  • Udonis Haslem is awesome.  No need for me to go into details.  He is just awesome. 

Really...that's all I got.  I am so dejected by the way this game went down.  I'm posting this and moving on with my evening. We'll get back at it tomorrow when the 2nd coming of Rafer begins.  Then its time to hit the road for about a month, so be prepared for some late-night basketball.

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