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Jubilation: Celtics 94, Heat 90 (Full Grades)

 
Miami Heat 90 FinalRecap | Box Score 94 Boston Celtics
Paul Pierce, SF 43 MIN | 6-19 FG | 5-4 FT | 4 REB | 4 AST | 19 PTS | 0 
A slow start is more than made up for by one of the sweetest shots of Paul Pierce’s career. With LeBron James’ outstretched finger tips tickling his chin, Pierce rose up and nailed an absolutely gorgeous three-pointer to extend Boston’s lead to four with less than a minute remaining. The numbers aren’t pretty, but pretty much everybody who saw the floor for a majority of this basketball game posted an unattractive stat line. The Celtics are defined by how they rise after getting knocked down, and this incredible shot is a perfect example. Pierce also set his teammates up with a few fantastic passes off penetration late in the fourth quarter. Despite the wretched shooting percentage, he remained aggressive. It was the difference.
Brandon Bass, PF 30 MIN | 4-8 FG | 5-5 FT | 4 REB | 0 AST | 10 PTS | 0 
Bass was Bass tonight. He hit some shots, missed some shots, and wasn’t on the floor due to matchup issues in key situations. He also had one of the dumbest plays of the game, traveling 40 feet from the basket, then slamming the ball to the ground and picking up a technical. But like I said, this is who he is. If you want that gorgeous jump shot and broad-shouldered presence down low, you must also accept the slowest perimeter defender in the world.
Kevin Garnett, PF 35 MIN | 11-20 FG | 4-6 FT | 11 REB | 2 AST | 26 PTS | +4 
Through this entire series, Garnett remains an unanswerable question keeping Miami’s coaches up at night. Front him in the post and there’s a lob over your head. Leave him on the pick and roll and he’s rattling in a dunk or knocking down a 20-foot jump shot. After the game Garnett said beating this team is not easy, but whenever he rises above the Heat’s small lineup for an alley-oop, he sure makes it seem so. His back line defense on Wade and James, two of the most devastating penetrators in league history, has been the difference in this series, and in the bigger picture, serves as the back bone of what’s made this era so successful. Even when the shots don’t fall, Garnett’s defense WILL be there on the other end. The emotional/physical toll his mere presence on the court takes on the collective psyche of his opponent was once again too much tonight. God bless this man and his unrelenting fire.
Ray Allen, SG 43 MIN | 2-9 FG | 8-8 FT | 7 REB | 0 AST | 13 PTS | +1 
Ray Allen was like radon gas in this game: a silent killer. In the first half he had six rebounds and eight points on a single shot. He played more minutes in the entire game than Dwyane Wade and was solid on defense throughout. The stats aren’t there, but the respect was. Watching him run through screens and ice close basketball games with cold-blooded free-throws sure is a sight for sore eyes.
Rajon Rondo, PG 44 MIN | 3-15 FG | 1-2 FT | 6 REB | 13 AST | 7 PTS | +11 
An impossible game to evaluate. He was passive for three quarters, then radiant in the fourth. He made one of the most inane backcourt violations you’ll ever see on one play, then maestro’d the offense to near flawless play for the entire final quarter. There’s no use trying to measure who Rondo is and what makes him tick. All I know is he’s doing things on the court right now that have never been done before, by anyone. He’s simply the best point guard in basketball.
Keyon Dooling, PG 9 MIN | 1-1 FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 0 AST | 3 PTS | +1 
He knocked in a HUGE three-pointer to end the third quarter, capping a humongous 15-1 Celtics run, and was as positive a ball of energy as we’ve seen in just nine minutes of action. I absolutely love his full court ball pressure when it’s needed, too. Looking forward to what he has in store on Thursday night.
Marquis Daniels, SG 3 MIN | 0-0 FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 0 AST | 0 PTS | -3 
Daniels wasn’t really a factor. He played just three minutes of situational basketball, but was…solid…in doing so.
Mickael Pietrus, SF 27 MIN | 5-8 FG | 1-2 FT | 3 REB | 0 AST | 13 PTS |  +5 
Regardless of his unreliable shot, and a tendency to leap from his couch whenever he sees someone pump fake on television, I’ve come to accept Mickael Pietrus for who he is and what he brings to the Boston Celtics. He played the entire fourth quarter tonight, and nailed two clutch three-pointers that kept Boston in it when things looked to be turning south. There are so many tiny positive things he does during a game (count his drawing of a technical foul on Chalmers in tonight’s contest as one of them) that you know his hearts in the right place even when it appears his head is elsewhere.
Greg Stiemsma, C 8 MIN | 1-1 FG | 1-2 FT | 4 REB | 0 AST | 3 PTS | +1 
Stiemsma had zero fouls in eight minutes. Progress. He also finished a pretty pick and roll with Rondo that was a lot harder than it looked. Any offense you get from Stiemsma is a fantastic thing.

Five Things We Saw

  1. Game 5 was defined by grit, 50/50 balls, and hustle plays. The Celtics simply came up with more of them than the Heat. After Wade blocked a Bass dunk, Rondo tipped a beautiful pass to a wide open Pietrus for three. It was a play that defines this basketball team as good as any. A symbol of who they are and how they don’t get too high when things are going good, or too low when they’re in trouble. They keep fighting until the whistle blows. Heat coach Erik Spoelstra loves to preach “staying the course” as a metaphorical philosophy his team likes to follow, but it’s the Celtics seem to do it better than anyone in the league.
  2. With 6:25 remaining in the third quarter, Doc Rivers subbed Stiemsma in for Kevin Garnett. The Celtics were down by seven at the time, but just 20 seconds later that deficit would escalate to nine. Game 5 was beginning to look like Game 1, and things appeared to be slipping away. In the next six minutes, the Celtics fought back with a Dooling three, a bucket from Stiemsma, a jumper by Pietrus, and, after subbing back in the game with just under two minutes remaining, a thunderous and-one dunk from Garnett that helped put the Celtics up five heading into the final period. It was in this six minute sequence that the Miami Heat were lackadaisical in their overall defensive play—both half court and in transition—and it’s where Boston was given the life they needed to pull off an improbable comeback victory. Remember it.
  3. Boston’s defense was a brick wall tonight. Dwyane Wade was 3-9 in the first half. LeBron James was 4-13 in the second half. The Celtics varied their coverage, dancing back and forth between zone and man, and cross matching repeatedly throughout the second half. It was a beautiful thing to watch (even though the Heat missed several open jump shots). Miami shot 39% as a team.
  4. Rondo had 13 assists in 44 minutes. The Miami Heat had that same number in the entire game.
  5. Chris Bosh played 14 effective minutes in Game 5, but was hardly seen in the fourth quarter. Expect that to change on Thursday night. His jumper looked flat, but his aggressiveness and eager legs were active on the offensive glass. He remains a variable in this series, but after tonight’s big win, it might be too little too late.
  • Lantrell Walker

    Great win tonight boys, great effort
    Now let's look to Thursday & make sure we never have to go back to Miami for the rest of this season

    #WeBelieveIn18

  • http://clarkwalkerstudio.com Luke Walker

    Hell yea – huge win and I can't wait to hear the Garden rocking Thursday night boys!!!!! Loge 10 row 14 and I'll bring a set of ear plugs :)

  • Phil

    Garnett's performance this entire postseason has been the stuff of legends. I knew he was still an all star level player who would make your team better on both sides of the ball, I didn't know he was capable of taking over an entire conference like he's done. He's the only reason the Heat aren't celebrating their five game series win over the Hawks right now. I just can't believe how he's playing.

    Also, what does Pietrus have to do to get an A? He had one bad foul in twenty seven minutes of guarding two of the best at drawing fouls in the entire league. The bumps him down a whole grade after he balls of steeled huge shot after huge shot down the stretch? His defense was good throughout, and he gives the Cs so much versatility. If he starts hitting shots again, things could get scary.

  • High Rollers

    I once got an A minus minus minus on a paper in school. I think tonight Rondo had an A minus minus minus game. And so did each and every other dude out there. But then they got graded for the group project, and as Batman I think it was said, A+ for everybody.

  • Howard Avellino

    Pietrus played the 2008 James Posey role tonight.

  • Zee

    Good grades. Fair and balanced. See y'all on Thursday night! Banner 18!

  • Mark

    What is truly amazing is this team is making this run playing, effectively, 7 guys with their starters playing HEAVY minutes. Truly amazing. In 2008 the C's were 10 deep with T Allen, House, Posey, Brown and Cassell. Sure Steimsma and Daniels make the court from time to time but the only true productive bench guys are Pietrus and Dooling. Truly amazing.

  • High Rollers

    Yup, Mr. Pina. Completely agree. The Rondo to Peaches play was poetic and emblematic. What a night!

  • Phil

    Just saw an interesting tweet from Tom Haberstroh; apparently the Heat weren't as good with Bosh on the court as it seemed. They were -12 with 5 FGs and 7 turnovers. They were 1/15 from 10+ feet. Bosh may have looked good, but maybe he didn't play in the fourth because the Heat struggled to reintegrate him on the fly.

  • Keith

    I don't think Stiemsma gets enough love for the grit he showed. At one point it seemed he was the only one hustling. He deserves some more minutes, I would like to has seen Rondo cut to the basket more, but the Heat seemed to contain him a little better tonight.I think we'll seem him getting to th basket more with KG there for even more oops.I don't want to get to excited til the 4th quarter buzzer rings and the Celts have more points. TOO many close games to count the Heat out!

  • Mikey

    Have to say I'm proud to be a fan of this Celtics team. These guys are fighters and champions.

  • Anthony

    I thought the officiating was decent tonight. Obviously I can list a number of calls that were questionable but that would just ruin the integrity of this game. Miami players and their fans were constantly complaining about calls despite replays on the Jumbotron that showed otherwise. The refs let them play and the better team won.

    Though it doesn't matter now but did anyone else thought that MP's long jumper was a 3, the play prior to Keyon's corner 3?

    One thing that nobody mentioned was that the Celts closed out every quarter well. Still waiting on a big game from Bass in this series. Hopefully it comes Thursday and Celts can closeout and get to the Finals.

    • yeah

      Thought it was a 3 myself, the whole event seemed largely ignored by the coverage. Although I think it was replayed during the reviews of the game on Sportscenter afterwards and it looked really close there. Still never got that /good look/ at it though, you know?

      • Anthony

        I thought it was an obvious 3 but the ref never reviewed it. As long as it didn't affect the outcome of the game, I have no complaints.

  • skeeds

    And Doc gets an A+. He's making Spoelstra look like a joke. (which in my opinion, he is). How is it possible that I can realize stuff that Pat Riley doesn't? For all the recipe's for a championship dynasty, superstar+sidekick+hardnosed defender (Bulls), dynamic duo (shaq+kobe), big 3 (Bird's C's, 2008's C's) etc, there's always 1 constant. A top 5 coach. Usually a top 2 coach. Never, at least since I can remember, has a coach of Spoelstra's level pulled off a championship run.

    As a certified LBJ hater, (got my papers and everything), I'm surprised that even I feel sorry for the guy. He is KILLIN it every game I've seen him play this year. And yet, he seems alone on the court. Even if the Heat manage to turn this around, even if they ultimately win the championship, he's the only one playing like a championship contender on that whole Heat team, players, coaches, even fans included.

    • Sophomore

      Your LBJ-hating papers aren't in order! You're right that he's been playing very well, but in no way is he out there alone. In the last 15 minutes of the game, Wade played star-caliber ball and was much the Heat's best player. He converted big shot after big shot (remember the driving layup around 3 Celtics?), and some great defensive plays (the rejection of Bass was ridiculous – it's just that Rondo then made an even greater play and Peaches converted). Wade was basically the Heat's heart and spine when the game was on the line, while LBJ was taking most of the fourth quarter off. It might be because LeBron was gassed, but whatever the reason, if it wasn't for Wade, the Cs would have won last night going away.

      • skeeds

        Well, yeah, Wade did put together a great 10-15 consecutive minutes but that was about it! Remember, this is the guy who was supposed to dominate his matchup and the series. That's what we all expected. For some weird reason he hasn't been able to put 2 good halves of basketball together the whole series. (which is fine by me, by the way!) At this point in the playoffs, with this much at stake, that's not good enough for the best SG in the NBA.
        It's not like the Heat are a well balanced team. With Wade taking all those possessions "off", Lebron works overtime, and naturally he's got nothing left by the last 3-4 minutes (which is also completely fine by me). Tonight's game was such an obvious example of that.

        Oh and my papers check out man. I've been booing LBJ since his first playoff run. Last night I set an alarm at 3:30 AM to wake up halfway around the globe to boo him alone in my apartment. I've got an international Lebron hater license, you see.

        • Anthony

          I wouldn't go as far as to feel bad for Lebron. He hasn't made any sacrifices that makes a champion. He's still too concerned about being liked. If he would've simply said "screw Dwade, this is my team" and continue to get his shots, Miami have a better chance. You could kind of tell that's how Dwade think. He still think it's his team even though Lebron is playing out of his mind. He had to get his even he had to made crazy plays to get them, whereas Lebron expend much less energy and effort to get the same 2pts. And Spoelstra, besides being incompetent, can't and won't control their egos. Basically Miami as a team is No Grits, No Balls.

          Lastly, where did you get those certifications because I think you need to get them for Chalmers, Battier, Dwade, Bosh, and Spoelstra too. Those guys are damn annoying for their constant complaints and flopping.

        • Sophomore

          Fair enough. But you could say the same about Rondo as you do about DWade. None of us knows where his head goes for long stretches of the game sometimes, but when it's on the line there he is. We call him great, and we should. As for the Heat, DWade put out plenty of effort; he took only two fewer shots the LBJ last night, and scored 3 fewer points; and he did it when it mattered most to his team. He just didn't succeed because he ran into a better team.

          Why do I not feel sorry for LBJ? First, no way on earth Bird, or Magic, or Jordan fades out in the fourth quarter that way. They pace themselves, or go supernova if they have to. I don't care if they're playing with four dudes they picked up on the corner. Second, this: http://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=lebro

  • JR99

    Bosh played ok, but he looked very stiff. Like he couldn't bend at the waist. What you'd expect after an abdominal muscle injury. He can shoot because that's a well-defined activity. He can rebound if the ball bounces his way, because he's tall. But I don't think Bosh can DEFEND. That requires unpredictable flexibility which he just doesn't have now. If he plays more minutes in game 6, I think KG would do well to take it to him, hard. He's going to be a nice big hole in their defense, and the Cs can spring their Bosh attack as the final surprise twist of the knife.

    Cs in 6. Rest. Meet the Spurs in the Finals. (Best possible outcome)

  • tbunny

    PAUL PIERCE.

    Somebody tell me about how Pierce has no lift and his legs are finished huh? This is why you can't count out Paul Pierce EVER.

  • srb

    Can I make a request? Please post a highlight today of Pierce's pass to Dooling at the end of the 3rd quarter. I'm pretty sure they never showed a replay of that one, and it was HUGE for the game.

    Also clips of Garnett's tomahawk and his alley oop.

  • CG12

    I had several "no, no, no… YES!" moments with Pietrus last night. That guy gives me a frigging heart attack on a regular basis. He definitely isn't going to play tight, and that can make all the difference.

    • JR99

      Mine was when Paul too the final 3. I YELLED at the top of my lungs "OH NOOOOOO"… followed immediately by "whew." Unbelievable game, crazy-ass win. Cs gotta win on Thursday… heart can't take it anymore

  • LACelticFan

    Where is Steven A. Smith's steamroller that the Heat supposedly were going to use on the Celtics? hahaha

  • carlos

    I love how Paul Pierce made more free thows than he attempted :)

    • GowGow

      Only The Truth!

  • GowGow

    Imagine Bradley mixed up out there giving hell of troubles to Wade. Allen is my favorite NBA player and if anyone will take his place when he leaves, no one else could do it better than that kid. GO Cs!

  • felix

    too old. too slow. no chance against the….wait a minute: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EsvDzh6u58c&fe

  • Tom

    Did my own article on game 5 as well as a preview for 6 where i tell u why the heat are done and how to bet it!! so come by check it out and enjoy!! also if u like it subscrbe!! http://nbawagers.com/2012/06/is-this-the-end-of-t

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