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Game Sux: C’s 79, Heat 98

 
Miami Heat 98 FinalRecap | Box Score 79 Boston Celtics
Paul Pierce, SF 31 MIN | 4-18 FG | 1-2 FT | 5 REB | 1 AST | 9 PTS | -20
We’ll all feel better about this in the morning, but for now, this is going to be mean.
Having a terrible shooting night is one thing. Pierce has been inefficient all series, but that’s not fully under his control: he’s trying to hit hit shots. But totally commandeering the offense in an effort to shoot yourself out of a hole is inexcusable. Pierce chucked up 18 shots, four more than Rondo or KG, in only 30 minutes when everyone else in the building was silently begging him to stop. That’s not leadership. It’s egomania.
Brandon Bass, PF 34 MIN | 5-8 FG | 2-3 FT | 7 REB | 0 AST | 12 PTS | -11
Earlier in these playoffs, Bass was routinely getting 10-12 shots per game. Not sure why they couldn’t find him more often tonight, considering he played more minutes than Pierce or Garnett and he’s been guarded by SFs throughout the series. Claps for Doc for making the bold switch to put him on LeBron (35 points in, but still).
Kevin Garnett, PF 31 MIN | 6-14 FG | 0-0 FT | 5 REB | 0 AST | 12 PTS | -16
He wasn’t guarding LeBron, so the abortional defense isn’t fully on him, but he still let LeBron defatig his supposedly indefatigable spirit. His five rebounds were about as harmful as his refusal to put Pierce on the deck after his 12th shot.
Ray Allen, SG 36 MIN | 3-7 FG | 3-4 FT | 3 REB | 1 AST | 10 PTS | -6
Don’t think for a second that he’s playing passive because he only took seven shots. Ray has effectively been cut out of the offense because A) he’s too slow to get space and B) the drive-and-kick game has been struck from the playbook. When Pierce or Rondo attacks the basket, they’re going up with it, forgetting that if there are three guys around them that means someone’s probably open. When Rondo does this he usually converts anyway, so no harm done. Pierce just hasn’t been driving often enough to get a good sample size.
Rajon Rondo, PG 41 MIN | 8-14 FG | 5-7 FT | 4 REB | 10 AST | 21 PTS | -25
Easily the worst 21-10 on 57% shooting game you’ll ever see. He got to the rim with the greatest of ease and successfully took his jumper off of blocks, but some of his passes looked like Muggsy Bogues clumsily trying to act like the Monstars stole his skills. He should have taken over at halftime, but hard to do that with Pierce consuming all matter and light. Lots of ill-conceived gambling on defense.
Keyon Dooling, PG 15 MIN | 0-2 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 1 AST | 0 PTS | -14
Dooling stands as the representative for the entire bench here: irrelevant.
Mickael Pietrus, SF 21 MIN | 1-4 FG | 0-0 FT | 3 REB | 0 AST | 2 PTS | -10
Shot 1-4, still managed a higher efficiency than Pierce. Yes, all of these are about Pierce. Based on tonight’s game, that’s how he likes it.

Three Things We Saw

  1. A letdown game. We knew it was coming on some level. Better tonight than Tuesday.
  2. Pierce continuing to tarnish his superstar legacy by hurting his team with every shot he takes. If he decides to start working within Rondo’s offense and stop forcing shots, he’ll be more efficient and the shots he doesn’t take will be put to better use.
  3. Low minutes for all the starters going into Game 7. The best way to lose.
  • meep

    I think the shots at Pierce are totally unwarranted. Yes, he played a terrible game tonight, but to suggest he is an egomaniac, to suggest that he is tarnishing his legacy is somewhat ridiculous. I think you'll read this tomorrow morning and realize that this is a bit rash, to say the least.

    • hdavenport

      TOTALLY unwarranted? I posted after Game 4 that Pierce was getting too much usage for his low efficiency against LeBron. Since then he's shot even more and hit even less. I'm sorry, but I think shooting 38 of 113 in a series where he's taken it upon himself to be the primary scorer, even though he's playing alongside two vastly more capable teammates with much better matchups, is certainly not helping Pierce's legacy. As far as egomania goes, that's obviously an exaggeration. But it's an overwhelming confidence that's letting him shoot as much as he is. He's being guarded by one of the three best defenders in basketball. He has an excuse to give it up to his teammates, but he's not taking it.

      • JR99

        Agree. Furthermore, Paul's looseness with the ball, the silly turnovers, the lack of urgency…. adds up to something perhaps worse than just ego running rampant.

        And that 3 he hit last game might have made it worse. Let's face it… Pierce has sucked this ENTIRE SERIES. He is arguably near-single-handedly losing this team's last chance at a ring. We'll see Saturday, but through 6 games now, that's how it looks.

      • The Cardinal

        Please tell me how any-damn-thing you and the other "experts" are suggesting would have changed the outcome of this game? Let's just admit that for one game, the Heat simply outplayed and overwhelmed the C's – i.e., THE WHOLE C's TEAM – and stop looking to place the blame on a single individual.

        Some of y'all are like little kids – it's always someone else's fault or someone ought to do something different than they've done their whole career – yeesh. What was true last night was the Heat outplayed Boston, PP didn't have a good game, nor did any other Celtic not named Rondo or Bass.

  • Batman

    Piece needs to look in the damn mirror and ask himself why hes chucking while hes shooting UNDER 40% IN THE ENTIRE PLAYOFFS
    Hes hurt, but thats not an excuse
    If you're gonna play hurt, contribute in other ways
    Does anyone else realize Rondo has out rebounded Pierce in the postseason while playing one less game?
    Pierce is the Truth, an amazing player, and one of my favorite people ever, but this performance just devastated me
    I hope he gets back to his regular self in Game 7

    • JR99

      But what is his regular self? What we're seeing could be it for now. Who knows?

      • Batman

        if he stops shooting Kemba Walker percentages I'll be happy

  • noche

    I posted this earlier but thought it would be more warranted in a fresh post.

    Three things beat the Celtics tonight:

    1) Lebron James finally playing like Jordan
    2) The Celtics inability to knock down jumpers
    3) The officiating (when the crowd is tired of chanting BULLSHIT at the garden you know there's a problem)

    IF the C's had stopped Lebron they probably would have lost a close one anyway because they couldn't hit the back side of a barn anyway. BUT if they were hitting shots and stopped Lebron, then the one sided officiating would have been the talk of the game.

    But at the end of the day – Lebron played like he gives a fuck about winning a championship (for the first time of his career) and the Celtics played like they all they had to do was coast and they'd be in the finals. This is what I was petrified of all day today. Everyone I talked to said we got this, which is the first time all year people have been talking about the Celtics like they SHOULD win. The C's shouldn't win. The Heat are the better team.

    As Boston fans we should know better. We should know that after game 5 not a single person should have said anything about anything except for we need to win game 6. People were talking about the end of the Heat instead of what do the Celtics need to do to close out the series.

    We in Boston should know better. As a Boston fan born in the mid 80s I should know better. My generation was bread on mediocre teams and stories of greatness. We should know that nothing is for granted. We should feel the agony our grandparents felt for their entire lives with the Sox. We should revel in the fact that we OWN A DYNASTY with the Pats. We should be grateful of the stories of the 16 banners placed before the new big 3. And most of all – we should never count out the Celtics. Because of all the Boston sports, the Celtics will always be the gold standard. Not the Pats, not the Sox, not the Bruins. The Celtics run this city.

    WE DON'T RAISE ANYTHING BUT CHAMPIONSHIP BANNERS.

    I BELIEVE IN #18

    • Ryan DeGama

      Strong passionate stuff from you in the comments lately, Noche. +1.

  • High Rollers

    Ouch, Hayes! But I agree with you and Batman. Sometimes you got to get slapped a couple times to wake up from ego-trippin'. Doc is such a good leader, though, this season being his best effort yet. He said, look, it's basketball, not a morality play out there. Everybody wanted this equal to the next guy and it just didn't come out right and we got hurt straying from our game, the Captain being the most salient example. And you're right about it being a crying shame that Ticket let James fatigue (defatig?) him. That's all about rhythm, the lack of it being the only apparent Kryptonite to our fearless soul man. Good thing the fans who have seen it all (by sticking around) sent off the troops with a heart-filling, rhythm restoring, 3 minute long (that was impressive) shout-out. Get past mad, Hayes. Doctor's order.

    • JR99

      I don't know. When I see Pierce literally throwing the ball to the opposition because he's dribbled himself to death even though he KNOWS he can't dribble through traffic… it smacks of laziness and overweening ego, not "best effort."

  • Batman

    Also how does Rondo get a B? come on man
    Dude deserves at least a B+ :(

    • hdavenport

      Fine. I changed it. Let me also take this opportunity to say how good it is to have you back!

      • Batman

        Thanks Hayes!

  • someguyinsac

    Sux is such an understatement after tonight, here's to regrouping and taking the next one.

  • Tommy

    Thank you Noche! well said..and Hayes, you are putting way too much blame on Paul when the whole team played poorly. this loss is not on pierce but on the celtics.

    • High Rollers

      Tommy, there is no such thing as too much blame when you're talking about iso- basketball. Come Saturday, either cut it out or you overpacked. It's that simple.

  • CelticsBIG3

    Would like to recount if anyone didn't see it…. Bravo to the REAL Celtic fans that stayed in the building to the bitter end and gave the "LETS GO CELTICS" chants for a solid 5 minutes despite being utterly destroyed tonight. And bravo to the fan who dumped the beer on Lebron as he went down the tunnel, hopefully that will cool him off a bit ; )

    • Mike C

      > bravo to the fan who dumped the beer on Lebron …

      Couldn't disagree more. If LBJ had been taunting, chest pounding, or swaggering, then I'd say heck yeah. But given how utterly clinical he was as he went into an intensely hostile arena and put on a performance for the ages, he deserved respect, not a cheap shot from some knucklehead.

      The chant from the fans was pure class.

      The thrown beer was the opposite of that.

      • noche

        You sir, are not from Boston if you think we are about class. Beantown has never been about class. It's been about dumping beer on someone like LBJ and chanting Let's Go Celtics even though we are down 20.

        While I agree that last night Lebron probably played one of the best games of basketball I've ever seen, you dump a beer on his head to say "Great Job – see you in Miami – just remember we hate you." You're probably the kid who chanted good job, great effort.

        • Mike C

          > You sir, are not from Boston …

          Fair enough: I'm from outside of Worcester. (And I grew up in the era when hating-admiring Dr. J and hating-hating Daryl Dawkins was the thing to do.)

          > You're probably the kid who chanted good job, great effort.

          LOL. No. (But I would have been clapping and chanting with the diehasrds if Id'a been at the Garden.)

      • CelticsBIG3

        Relax dude its a joke

  • greenboner

    i said it would all be riding on the officiating in game 7 in miami after game 3.why because the nba has a knack for stretching a series for maximum profit.pray to your respective gods that the media made enough of a stink about the bullshit in game 1 and 2 that they will call this one fair.if they do call it fair the spirit of the celtic warriors will triumph and carry them to the championship to cap off this era.

  • CelticsBIG3
  • Lantrell Walker

    Disappointed by this loss: Yes
    Discouraged & Hopeless for Game 7 and beyond: HELL NO!!!!!!!!!!!

    Question: How do you scare a team that's seen every single thing imaginable in their 5 years together?

    Answer: You don't

    Call me crazy, but I seriously think that Miami poked the bear last night. I can't wait to see how our boys react & bring it on Saturday, I'm expecting that chip on their shoulders to be even bigger come game time.

    #WeBelieveIn18

  • onecowboytoo

    This was a let down game.

  • Moxie

    Could not agree more about Pierce's grade. Right when Doc sat his starters for good in the middle of the fourth, I said that Pierce should get an F. No bumping up to a D just coz we love him and he's our Captain.

    This game was a TRAP, and we got caught right at the start and never could seem to shake ourselves free, all the way till the end. :(

    I also cannot help but feel that the Cs did their fans a disservice tonight by not even putting up a fight, possibly the Big 3's last game at the Garden. :(

  • James Patrick

    AND screw you ESPN panel of "experts". You were kissing our asses less than 48 hours ago and now we're old and tired again? what are you gonna say after we take game 7? We don't need your love. We believe!!!

  • Morpheus

    Should’ve just let Rondo go off for 50 straight up, word to the mutha.

    I do think Paul’s ego affected tonights outcome. He probably couldn’t resist the temptation to re-live the 07-08 series when he and LeBron squared off and he dropped 40. He just isn’t capable of playing at that level anymore in a playoff series.

    I think the crowd brought all the heart tonight, the Celtics just broght disappointment

  • Morpheus

    Sorry meant to say the fans brought all the heart tonight, the Celtics just brought disappointment. LeBron brought 250 pounds of awesomeness.

  • Greg Allan

    I've been watching the NBA since the early eighties and played the game for over thirty five years. James' performance in this game is one of the best individual efforts I've seen. Incredible performance but the bastard did it against my Celtics. Grrrrrrrr.

  • CG12

    As with most things, I feel like the bottom line with Pierce lies somewhere in the middle of what a number of people have said here. Yes, PP was seriously forcing it last night and it really didn't work out. But what would you have him do? They weren't getting any open looks because they weren't running, so all they had was sludgy half-court offense. Without P doing his iso thing, I have no idea where many of those shots would have come from. Rondo was only intermittently aggressive. KG didn't have it. Ray has been a shadow of himself for months now. Bass has the offensive diversity of a third grader. The Truth just happened to have a lousy game when they really needed him to step up to have any chance.

    Games like last night are where the thinness and un-dynamic-ness of the C's bench really hurts them. The bench guys will come in with energy and play some D, but there are no playmakers in the entire bunch. The loss of Avery Bradley hurt the C's just as much because of the trickle down affect on the offense is it did with the loss of his man D. You need a guy who you can bring in every once in a while to pick up some scoring slack and make something happen. The C's don't have that guy. So when the stars are struggling, there just isn't anywhere else to go. It sucks, but it's true. If PP isn't able to take and hit his shots in G7, it will be awfully tough for the Celts. KG and Rondo will need to go absolutely huge to have any chance.

  • High Rollers

    CG12, our chances lie in protecting the rock and moving the rock with a concerted effort. It’s amazing how just a few shots going down at the right moments can determine the course of things. (Insert Make/Miss League cliche here.) That to some extent cannot be controlled. But protecting and moving the rock can. The C’s might have arrived at things the hard way, yet it is a simple plan that will get them over the hump with the Roman numeral 16 mouthpiece. If the Big Four protect the ball like it’s their own child, things just might go our way.

    • CG12

      Agreed. The ball movement was crap from the jump last night.

      It is a make-miss league. And you have to value the ball. I love b-ball cliches.

  • Tommie

    Yes, the C's have to protect and move the rock. And given how cold the team was, Rondo could have taken more of the scoring burden on himself. But I agree with CG12 that when KG isn't hitting his shots, the C's will inevitably rely, to some extent, on the Captain in iso situations, even against Bron. He is the only one who can always get off a shot, and he often makes difficult ones. Of course, I'd rather see him take it to the basket for fouls than take fade-away jumpers. But his scoring 20+ is absolutely crucial for the C's to win. And the Truth knows this.

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