We learn history so we don’t repeat our mistakes.Garcon Rondo served easy baskets on a platter, Ray Allen ran the usual marathon to become the leading scorer, Paul Pierce was clutch at the right times, Kevin Garnett hustled to lead his team in rebounds and the Boston Celtics dictated the orchestra to the most dominating win decided by less than 10 points. That’s not just a recap of last night’s game. It’s the novel from the season debut in Boston, freed from hype and re-released on paperback in South Beach last night. The Celtics are, in plain broken English, more good. In a repeat of their first rendezvous, the Celtics disarmed the Heat early in the game starting their jet packs and setting the pace. Boston took off to a 22-10 start, highlighted by a fabulous Rajon Rondo dunk provoking a timeout by Coach Spoelstra to regroup his troops. "We gotta get toughter down there. Two offensive rebounds, those are in traffic. We can’t give those up. We cannot give those up. Be an athlete and go up and get it," Spoelstra screamed during the timeout. Such words could not carry more stealth in meaning. The Heat have all the athleticism to rule the sport, but the sound discipline, chemistry and swagger from the likes of Boston is what win games consistently, even on the bad nights. The road to the half belonged to the greens. Ball movement, led by monarch Rondo, was swift and precise as the Boston Celtics closed up the first half with 61 points (most this season) and only 4 turnovers. Kevin Garnett went perfect from the field (4-4) and Ray Allen flawless from three (4-4) combining with the rest of the Celtics for 60% shooting from the field as well as from the three. The Miami Heat were held to 40% from the field and 25% from three at the half with Wade scoreless (0-6) and Lebron leading the Heat with 15 points (5-10). Boston walked to the locker room, heads held high, with a 15 point lead and the score sitting 61-46. Coach Spoelstra preaching at the half: "You are each going to have to rely on your brother, to one compete, to two do your job. Just do your job, be reliable, let go of your ego. You are going to need each other in the second half." Miami came back in the second somewhat stronger and more decisive. Lebron took the reins and led the Heat to a more efficient 32 point third quarter, attacking the basket, setting up teammates but taking a beating while doing so. Boston isn’t one to allow easy baskets and planted a seed of dare to all intruders. James and Wade felt it, getting pounded with every drive. The Heat defense has been solid so far this season, hiccuping at times and sporadically losing it's grip. Inexplicably, Ray Allen found himself continuously open, at one point sitting at 7-for-7 from behind the line before his first miss on his way to a 35 point night. The fourth quarter was a steady grind, Lebron aggressive and Udonis Haslem doing the best Millsap Lite he could muster. The Heat had a few short runs to cut it to single digits but never close enough to strike a nerve with an upset. Celtics held on comfortably to the win, final score 112-107. For now, the challenge of defeating a previous NBA champion of such prideful pedigree has proven overwhelming. With the lack of an extensive playbook, mental accord, chemistry, knowledge of each other’s tendencies and the onerous balance of domination and defer, the Heat have a ways to go. All will come in time. There is one thing you cannot learn that some daring critics noticed the Heat lacking in: heart. At some point in time, Miami will have to start proving them wrong. Any day now. Any day.
- Lebron was impressive with a performance 1 assist shy of a triple double (35-10-9), soon to be forgotten with a loss.
- Wade continued his troubles against the Boston defense, finishing 2-of-12 (0-5 from three) for 8 points.
- In an effort to solve the point guard situation, Spoelstra limited Arroyo to 10 minutes and Chalmers to 5. The bulk at point went to Eddie House and the Wade-Lebron duo.
- Haslem finished with another double-double on 21 points and 10 rebounds.
- Lebron James and Dwyane Wade combined for an 0-10 ugly display of shooting from long range. It is troubling to see such superior athletic specimens take solace in the weakest part of their games. Somebody must put the foot down and encourage the duo to stay aggressive and never settle. It’s a delicate balance, that of keeping superstars happy and holding stern in their guidance. Is coach Spoelstra the right one to instill it?
- The viral criticism continues, as http://www.firespo.com/ has spruced up, playing on the Heat’s performance so far. Perhaps a little premature, but the coach gets blamed before the players even get mentioned. This is the way of the NBA.
- Paul Pierce tweeted after the game: "It's been a pleasure to bring my talents to south beach now on to Memphis." Oh my. Lebron will have to get technological and start some "Twitter Notes".