The officiating changed when the series came up to Boston. NBA refs seem to be the weakest willed human beings this side of Vichy France. They are so beaten into submission by star players, legend coaches, and 18,000 fans screaming at them. I would bet that of all professions, NBA referees have the highest rate of wives cheating on them. Not only are they travelling smost of the year, but they seem like some of the most flaccid men on the planet. Women respect power and decisiveness. So do sports fans. NHL linesmen and NFL umpires routinely score with the wives of NBA refs. Or so I would imagine.
Last night the Celtics shot out to an early lead. They went on a huge run in the 1st quarter, and led by 11. At halftime, they were up by 14. Then they couldn't buy a field goal in the second half. They scored 12 in the 3rd, then 16 in the 4th.
That's been a trend for them in the postseason. They're streaky shooters. They're streaky rebounders, too. The Celtics outrebounded the Heat 26-19 in the first half. The Heat outrebounded the Celtics 21-13 after.
But, when the score was tied and Miami had the last possession of regulation, the Celtics played great defense and shut down the Heat. Then in OT, the Celtics were simply better.
Kevin Garnett was great, especially late in the game. He scored 17 points and hauled in 14 rebounds. His 13th double-double of the playoffs. Rajon Rondo was equally impressive, especially in the first half. 15 points, 15 assists. He was only slowed down when the Miami defense focused almost entirely on him.
Rondo has his share of critics. I'd say that their biggest criticism of him is that he isn't amazing every night. He's only amazing most nights. That's a problem that I can live with. Especially when those nights are big games. He actually gets criticized for doing well in big games. What a City we live in.
Pierce scored 23, Bass scored 11, Ray Allen hit 4 three-pointers and finished with 16. Kevin Dooling scored 10 off the bench and added some serious energy to the game.
As the pressure in the series increases, the weaker LeBron James becomes. He fouled out of this game. We've already seen him be unable to finish games like a true MVP should be able to. Obviously, the Celtics will need to win a road game to win this series. I think they can so long as it's close in the 4th and LeBron wilts under pressure.
I love watching LeBron throw temper-tantrums when he's audaciously called for that 3rd foul. He's so unaccustomed to being called at all. It's hilarious to watch him flail and moan. I stand by Rajon Rondo's halftime comments. The Celtics are playing against a team that cries.
Game 5 Tuesday in Miami. If the Celtics win, the series is over.