Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Celtics Can't Keep Game Close Enough for LeBron to Choke

Against the Hawks and the 76ers, the Celtics were able to play 3/4 of a good game and still win. They could play half a good game and still have a chance to win. That won't be the case with the Heat. The Celtics can't afford 11 point quarters against Miami. They can't afford 15 point or 18 point quarters either. Especially not all in the same game.

There was so much that was bad about what the Celtics did last night. The free-throw shooting was tragic. 11 for 21. Ray Allen, one of the best shooters of all-time, was 3 for 7 from the line. Pierce never got to the line. 84 of his 251 postseason points have have come from free-throws. That's over a third of his total production. If he's not driving, he's not getting to the line, which means he's not scoring. All but one of his 20+ point playoff performances have seen him score 10+ from the line.

The Celtics only turned the ball over 9 times, but 4 of those came in the 1st quarter.

The Heat won the battles in the paint. They scored more points down there and out-rebounded the C's 48 to 33. The Heat also blocked 11 shots compared to the Celtics' 1.

The Celtics dug themselves a hole in the 1st with poor shooting, a lack of drives to the basket, poor free-throws, and turnovers. They dug themselves back to ground level, but then didn't seem to have enough gas to keep up with the Heat in the second half.

The Celtics aren't going to have any blowout victories in this series, like they had against Philadelphia and Atlanta. The best chance for the C's to win will be in close games in the 4th quarter. We've seen LeBron completely shit the bed in such situations, or pass responsibility to someone else.

But the Celtics only scored 44 combined points in the 1st, 3rd, and 4th quarters. They weren't atrocious on defense, but a team as talented as Miami should be expected to score. And LeBron can't choke if the Heat only have to run the clock out.

I expect the Celtics will wake up and start Game 2 with much more fire. Who knows how long that fire will last them. But it's better than playing an entire game from behind, forcing shots.

Game 2 Wednesday night in Miami.

Photo Credit:
AP Photo

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