Some initial thoughts on the Miami Heat's loss to the Boston Celtics in the first game of the series...
- The Miami Heat will look back and kick themselves for losing such a winnable game against the Boston Celtics. With a 14-point lead in the third quarter and the scoring load well balanced, it appeared that Dwyane Wade who was fully rested after sitting out the last game of the season against the New Jersey Nets, was going to take over the game in the fourth quarter. Well that never happened because the Celtics stepped up their defense, holding the Heat to only two points in the first five minutes of the final quarter and ten points as a team for the entire quarter. Wade had six of those points, Dorell Wright and Michael Beasley had a basket each to close out the scoring.
- Just like the previous three games in the regular season against the Celtics, the Heat had yet another golden opportunity and let it slip away. Give credit to the Celtics for closing off all the passing lanes for Wade and creating indecision after leaving his feet that resulted in turnovers, not wide open jumpers for the Heat’s perimeter shooters that had been the norm during the final stretch of the season. The Heat gave up 38 points as a result of their 22 turnovers.
- With two minutes left in the third quarter, the Heat’s offense plateaued at 66 points. The team would go on to score only two points for almost nine minutes of game time that would last until the halfway-point of the fourth quarter.
- Tony Allen was unlikely the hero for Boston with 14 points and a plus/minus of +17 points that led all players for both teams. His entry into the game at the midpoint of the third quarter and the deficit at 12 points coincided with a Boston run of 17-5 to close the quarter with only 2 points down. Allen would not return to the bench. Glen Davis and Kevin Garnett made up for lackluster games from Ray Allen and Paul Pierce, though the latter did step it up big time in the fourth quarter with some timely jumpers.
- Wade played poorly when the Heat needed him the most to take over the game himself. With Udonis Haslem, Michael Beasley, Jermaine O’Neal and Carlos Arroyo not providing much help Wade should have forgotten about looking for his teammates and look for his own shot. If he had been his typical self then Boston’s defense would have had to adjust and Miami could then space the floor and make the extra pass to an open shooter or a player driving to the basket. There was very little off-the-ball movement in the second half compared to the first half. Erik Spoelstra and the coaching staff also deserve the blame for not getting the offense to adjust quickly enough to stop the bleeding.
- Because Wade wasn’t aggressive he also failed to get to the line and put Boston in foul trouble. The team shot only 13 free throws compared to 28 for the Celtics. They also held a huge edge in points in the paint with 52 points, 16 more than the Heat.
- Boston only made one three-pointer for the game. Only two players, Ray Allen and Paul Pierce, attempted three-pointers.
- Jermaine O’Neal had 9 rebounds but his shot is still off after coming back from injury and closed with only 8 points. Carlos Arroyo, Haslem and Beasley needed to do better than just 6 points each too.
- Putting aside what Quentin Richardson might have said to Kevin Garnett and the fact that it all took place at the Heat's bench and not Boston's, don't you have to suspend KG strictly because of the elbow? If the NBA is going to suspend players for just leaving the bench (do any Heat players count?) then something that dangerous to another player can't be just simply dismissed.