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NBA PLAYOFFS Game #2: Miami Heat (0-1) vs. Boston Celtics (1-0)

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They played a solid first half, and for a few minutes of the 2nd half it seemed to carry over.  Miami was absolutely in control of Game 1, and Dwyane Wade was carrying the load.  Then something changed. With 7:02 left in the 3rd quarter Miami was leading 61-47.  Then Boston flipped some switch and suddenly they were smothering the Heat like firefighters, holding Miami to just 15 points over the games final 19 minutes. 

Dwyane Wade looked unstoppable early in the 2nd half, but double and triple teams combined with the Heat not having Wade move much without the ball kept him from having any kind of impact on the end result.  There was nothing going on for Miami inside the paint; every offensive possession seemed to be the same.  Passing the ball around the perimeter until the shot clock got low, at which point a long forced J would go up, but not in. 

So yeah...there is a lot to tweak on offense for the Heat, but they showed that they can in fact score on Boston, we're just going to have to wait and see what Erik Spoelstra can come up with to keep the offense flowing consistently.  It can't be all about Dwyane Wade, there have to be other guys contributing in order to keep the defense honest, and nobody knows that better then Dwyane.  Said Wade:

"I thought we relied on me too much, at times, to make all the plays, to get into the paint, when they weren't allowing me to do that at certain times.  So guys got to continue to stay aggressive, and always look for their opportunities."

I found this interesting because usually Wade takes the blame for the Heat's struggles, but now it's the Playoffs and he doesn't appear to be holding anything back. I also think that he realizes this team likely wont be together much longer, so why hold back?  Winning is all that matters right now, so there is no need to try and not hurt peoples feelings.  I'm not saying that's what Wade is thinking, but it certainly crossed my mind...

Wade also commented on Michael Beasley's not-so-great Game 1, but I'll get to that in a second.  Beasley came right out and said that Kevin Garnett was in his head, saying, "he got to me".  Super Cool was most effective on the glass, coming down with 8 rebounds (3 offensive).  Other then that he was not nearly as productive as the Heat need him to be, scoring 6 points while turning the ball over 5 times.  Beas didn't have much to say about his poor performance, just that in Game 2 "You'll see a different me".  D-Wade on the other hand, had plenty to say on the subject.  Said Wade:

"He didn't have the game we know he can.  We need more from Michael.  Simple as that.  He's quote-unquote the second-best player for us.  If we're going to win four games in the next six games, Michael's got to be effective."

"I'm not going to say [Garnett] intimidated him.  Possibly he got to him and made him speed up his game because he's talking to him.  Michael's first instinct to that is to attack.  Sometimes you feel you're being challenged and you respond by attacking. That's not the way for him to go.  He's got to think."

With Kevin Garnett suspended for Game 2, Beasley needs to step up and get himself going for the rest of the series.  Unfortunately, even if he does have a big game tonight that wont have me convinced of anything for the rest of the series.  If a hall of famer who is known for trash taking has Beas in his crosshairs, I cant see Michael mentally persevering over him, or anybody really.

GAME NOTES

  • Boston backup guard Tony Allen did an awesome job covering Dwyane Wade in the 2nd half.  Let's hope that doesn't become a trend, but its definitely something to keep your eye on. 
  • Miami shot 4-for-26 as a team in the 4th quarter of Game 1, scoring just 10 points. 
  • Heat players not named Quentin Richardson shot 1-of-11 from beyond the arc, and D-Wade went 0-for-4.  Wade hadn't put up more then three attempts from 3-point range since mid-March.
  • The Heat bench was pretty awful in Game 1, which cannot happen if Miami is going to win.  They combined to shoot just 6-for-23 and scored 15 points.
  • Rajon Rondo will not be 100% but will still be out there for Game 2.  He was noticeably slower then usual in Game 1 but was still productive, and will probably be a little better now, with a couple more days to rehabilitate, then he was on Saturday night.
  • Doc Rivers hasn't said yet who will be starting in place of Kevin Garnett.  It'll be either Rasheed Wallace or Glen Davis

Miami showed that they can play better then Boston in parts of Game 1, but if they cant hone in on those times and play well when it counts (like...the 2nd half) then the Heat are in a heap of trouble.  Hopefully the suspension of Kevin Garnett will allow Miami to get some momentum going for them, but Garnett's teammate Paul Pierce feels that Boston should win regardless of whether K-G is in the lineup or not.  Said Pierce:

"We know we can win.  We know we can hold down the fort if KG is out a game.  We're not one of those teams that when their star player goes down that's an excuse to not play hard, not try to win the game.  We're a team that feels like with KG and without KG we're supposed to win a game"

We'll see how that works out for Paul.  Tipoff from the TD Garden is set for 8pm and the game will be Nationally televised on TNT but will also be on Sun Sports locally, for those of you who prefer the local flavor.  I hope they fix whatever HD issues they were having because Game 1 (for me) was un-watchable. Assuming its all good, I definitely prefer listening to Eric Reid and Coach Tony call the game then anyone else.  Plus, hearing Mike Tirico call a game just makes me miss football even more.  Speaking of football, here is an interesting little blog by Dave Hyde of the Sun-Sentinel comparing Michael Beasley to Ted Ginn Jr.  Enjoy...