Friday, June 08, 2012

Celtics Will Have to Take Their Talent to South Beach

LeBron James is smart. He realized that the best way to avoid choking in the 4th quarter was to shoot the lights out in the first three. He hit 11 of his first 12 field goal attempts, finished 19 of 26 (73.1%), scored 30 points in the first half, and 45 points overall.

And he wasn't hitting easy shots. He was contested, fading away, and he still managed to sink it. Give him credit for having a great game.

Most of the Celtics, on the other hand, did not have a great game. Pierce was 4 for 18 from the field, and only managed 9 points. Rondo led the team with 21 points, but only had 10 assists. Which is an indicator that his teammates were struggling to sink shots. Garnett finished with 12 points. He shot 6 for 14, and never got to the free-throw line. Bass was the only Celtic who truly had a good game. He scored 12 with 7 rebounds.

Ray Allen hit the only three-pointer for the C's, who were 1 for 14 in that department. The Heat, meanwhile, were 7 for 16 with their three-pointers.

The Celtics defense was sluggish and predictable. But at some point you just have to tip your cap to LeBron for making the shots he made.

Offensively, the C's reminded me of the Bruins' power play. One or two guys moving, everyone else stationary. At first, the Celtics took advantage of Miami in transition. Then they slowed down. Then they slowed down, but took mediocre shots with 18 seconds left on the shot-clock. The Celtics never got into a rhythm offensively, and never really seemed to try to get into one.

The Celtics love to do this. They win 3 games in a series, then they take their foot off the gas. There were spurts of energy in this game. Rondo doing pushups was a great moment. But energy is only good if it's maintained throughout the course of a game. If it's sporadic, then it's essentially useless.

There wasn't much that the Celtics could do to silence LeBron, but they could have at least answered on the offensive end. Too many possessions ended with weird turnovers and missed shots.

The Celtics simply didn't play very well last night. Pierce and Garnett had off nights. Rondo was good, but he can't do it on his own. And without KG and Pierce, this team can't hope to win playoff games.

Hopefully they all wake up in Game 7. To me, they had a golden opportunity last night, and they blew it. Now they have to go down to Miami, deal with officials who are swayed by the crowd, and beat the Heat on their own floor. Again. At least they've shown that they can do it.

Game 7 Saturday night.

Photo Credit:
AP Photo

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