Then there are the Celtics, who should actually be inspired by many aspects of their 0-2 start. They played a remarkable game of perserverance Tuesday in Miami. Paul Pierce was on the bench in a tailored suit, and with six minutes remaining his teammates had committed 21 turnovers and enabled Miami to shoot 59.7 percent from the floor. The Heat had attempted 10 more free throws than the Celtics and outrebounded them 34-21. And yet Boston was within 102-93, and would cut the deficit to three points with 1:22 remaining -- in spite of a lousy charge call that unfairly nullified a crucial two-on-one fast break for the Celtics in the late going of their extended comeback.
Doc Rivers and the Celtics did a great job exposing a weakness in the Heat (actually following a blueprint started by the Mavericks in the Finals last year) by using zone against them and daring them to shoot over it.
With less than three minutes remaining in the third quarter, Doc Rivers switched to a zone defense, and the Heat struggled to adapt.
Boston played zone on just two percent of all plays last season, but had success with it Tuesday. Miami's half-court offense was effective against man-to-man, shooting better than 60 percent in the half court, but the Heat were held under 30 percent against the zone.
Well played by Doc and Spolestra had no answer for it. Eventually James Jones is going to make people pay and it is scary to see Norris Cole look so good as a rookie, but at least we know there are ways to slow this Heat team down when needed.
Before we shovel dirt on the Celtics grave, let us see how the next few games play out and let us see how the team responds to adding Pietrus and getting Paul Pierce back. Two losses against good playoff teams is not enough to panic over. The bad starts and early deficits are certainly something to cause concern, but the team's resiliency, creativity, and pride are something to at least hang your hat on.