Whether it’s been at the hands of Michael Jordan, Allan Houston or now Paul Pierce the Miami Heat have not been strangers to being on the losing end of playoff heroics.
What really hurts is that the Heat’s assassin couldn’t save the Heat for just one more play.
Wade really blew it in the last play for the Heat to take control. It wasn’t even a matter of shooting one to many three pointers. With eleven attempted and only three converted for the game, Wade had no business pulling up for one at the top of the key, Ray Allen-style. The Celtics did a great job all series containing him without allowing him to wrack up numbers with free throws. But Michael Beasley and Dorell Wright were having solid games and Udonis Haslem, although he missed crucial late free throws this time, has proven all season long that he can be counted on when the game is on the line with his midrange jumper. There was plenty of time on the shot clock so why not just pass the ball around to see if Wade couldn’t get a good look at the basket?
And then Wade goes down, clutching his knee at halfcourt.
Seriously, does it get any worse than this?
There was hope that even though the Heat had been winless in the regular season against Boston it could still be a tight series because the games had been close. But the Celtics have consistently been able to sustain any good stretches of Heat basketball and staying close with solid team defense.
There were highlights to be sure. Beasley and Wright shined when the Heat needed someone, anyone, to help Wade and create scoring opportunities. Even Chalmers had his moments. And Wade was brilliant throughout, somehow scoring 34 points despite the wobbly three-pointers and only getting to the free throw line an astoundingly low three times.
With such a close game decided by two points it’s inexcusable that no less than three starters Jermaine O’Neal, Carlos Arroyo and Quentin Richardson combined for an astounding nine points.
Rasheed Wallace (2 points, 1 rebound), Kendrick Perkins (0 points, 12 rebounds, 5 turnovers), Tony Allen (4points, 0 rebounds) and Glen Davis (4 points, 3 rebounds) didn’t do anything either. But the difference (and the reality for the Heat who are simply proving to the nationwide audience that Wade has no help) is that the Celtics have the Big 4.
A sign that +/- stats aren’t to be trusted too much:
Boston’s starters - Garnett, Pierce, Rondo, Perkins and Ray Allen combined for -28 points
Boston’s bench - Wallace, Tony Allen, Michael Finley, Glen Davis combined for +38 points