Boston: 95.6 points/100 possessions (11th)
Miami: 106.2 points/100 possessions (3rd)
Boston: 93.7 points allowed/100 possessions (2nd)
Miami: 93.5 points allowed/100 possessions (1st)
Key Injuries: Avery Bradley and Chris Bosh are out, Ray Allen has bone spurs that has rendered him completely ineffective to this point
Probable Miami Starters: Almario Vernard Chalmers (PG), Dwyane Wade (SG), LeBron Raymone James (SF), Shane Battier (PF), Ronny Turiaf (C)
View From The Opposing Bench: Heat Index
I hope the Celtics win convincingly tonight. I hope LeBron James and Dwyane Wade have awful games. I hope the Celtics regain their suffocating brand of defense and force Wade and James to brick long jumper after long jumper. I hope the Celtics frustrate the Heat role players so much that they look lost and uncomfortable trying to pass the ball back out to one of their saviors. I hope Rajon Rondo and Kevin Garnett put up a triple-double and a double-double, respectively. I hope Paul Pierce completely outplays James like he did back in Game 7 of the 2008 Eastern Conference Semi-Finals.
I want all this to happen not as a selfish-Celtics’-footy-pajama-wearing green-teamer. I want this all to happen because I can’t wait to see the narrative shift that happens in its aftermath; the complete 180 the media will do if the Celtics dominate tonight- ourselves included.
To this point, it’s not really our fault that we’ve gone completely off the deep end to favor the Heat. LeBron James and Co finished off the Pacers fairly easily in 6 games while the Celtics struggled to beat Philadelphia in 7. Kevin Garnett has slowly regressed from the dominant force he was to start the playoffs and Ray Allen has completely disappeared. Meanwhile, James and Wade have continued their streak of stellar play against a much better defensive team than Indiana and perhaps even played their most efficient offensive games of the playoffs in Game 1.
I don’t want this to continue. I want to see a good, competitive series. I want people to stop writing teams off after one game. I want people to stop making little things into these big statements about a whole series, a whole team, a whole season, or a whole era. Like this:
For the past two days, this moment was seen as LeBron James laughing at Kevin Garnett as if to say, “there is nothing you can do to stop me.” What I saw LIVE and what I still see now is James taking a hard foul and then extending the ball to the official and repeating the word “Ed” for the official Ed Malloy (even though Jason Phillips ends up taking it). Is there gamesmanship here? Sure. But when everyone decided to see James mocking the big bad bully Garnett, I saw James trying to tattle.
Look! Ed! Look what he’s doing! He’s taunting!
If you knew James, you’d know he doesn’t get in people’s faces like that and laugh at them. He let’s his game do the talking in the trenches and showboats when he’s completely alone on the break. Aside from throwing a cowardly elbow and then playing it off like nothing happened, James completely avoids confrontation.
The moment captured in the video wasn’t even what prompted Rondo to suggest that the Celtics need to play with more toughness. It was the ease to which James and Wade got to the rim and finished. Protecting the rim is a big reason why the Celtics have seen so much success in the big three era. I would hate to have tonight’s game tarnished by quick whistles resulting from what seems like an obvious gameplan from the Celtics.
Quick whistles will also beget moments like this:
To take the physicality out of this series would be to end it before it began. And that flop embarrassing.
Please note: this preview is not meant to be a complete takedown of LeBron James. He is the best player in the world. Head and shoulders above everyone else. Which means he doesn’t need to do the things that make people dislike him so very much.
From the Celtics perspective, a few things need to happen in order for the C’s to win tonight:
- The defense has to return and protect dribble penetration. The Celtics had long stretches where they couldn’t stop any member of the Heat. The Celtics are much better on the pick and roll and are a much better defensive rebounding team. The must show it.
- Kevin Garnett needs to establish himself on the block early and often regardless of who is guarding him.
- The Celtics need something, anything, from Ray Allen and Mickael Pietrus other than just slowing down Wade.
- Doc Rivers cannot over-extend Pierce and Garnett. Rivers diverted pretty sharply from Garnett’s 5-5-5 plan in Game 1 and it resulted in Garnett being completely useless on the perimeter in the fourth quarter.
I won’t even dare to predict the outcome of this game.
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