The refs were bad. As bad as they've been in every NBA game I can remember. Get over it. Do people love NBA basketball because if their team loses they can just blame the refs?
Celtics fans had been clamoring for the C's to play a tougher, more physical game. Fans were encouraging fouling, especially of LeBron James. Then the Celtics get called for fouling James. And now fans are whining about it.
The refs did miss that face-rake of Rondo. That was too bad. But bad officials in the NBA Playoffs are like bad weather in the NFL Playoffs. It's something you can't control and have to be able to win despite it.
The Celtics played with a lot of energy for the first part of the game. Especially on defense. Garnett was everywhere. And offensively, the C's were driving. They were staying down low, hauling in rebounds, and Rondo took full advantage of how the Heat tried to cover him.
In the 3rd quarter, the Celtics let the game get away. With 4 minutes left in the 2nd quarter, the Celtics were up by 15. Late in the 3rd, they were down by 8. A 23 point swing in 16 minutes of basketball.
The Celtics rallied back in the 4th quarter. Then missed a few shots that could have won them the game. Ray Allen missed two rushed jumpers that probably shouldn't have been taken at all. I don't like the idea of Ray Allen taking late-game shots unless he is getting a near perfect look with his feet completely set.
Then the Heat gave the Celtics a chance. Wade missed a free throw. LeBron decided to cover Dooling instead of Ray Allen. And when Allen finally was able to take his time, set his feet, and take a clear look, he sank the three-pointer. Then LeBron missed twice going the other way.
But winning in overtime would be a tough task. Pierce had fouled out. Allen was drained. Garnett was utterly exhausted. Even if the refs called the face-rake on Rondo, I don't think the Celtics would have had enough in the tank to hold off the Heat.
On the bright side, the Celtics improved their shooting. They played better defense, they rebounded the ball, they made their free throws, they didn't get blocked 11 times. And we all saw that LeBron James has no heart whatsoever. I'm not counting the Celtics out yet. It'll be tough for them to win 4 of 5, but if they win Game 3 in Boston, things look significantly brighter.
Game 3 Friday night in the Garden.