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Heat 100, Celtics 77: Final Thoughts

Playoff atmosphere: If a person living under a rock watched this game, they might have thought it was being played in May. Both teams played with a sense of purpose and for good reason. While the eight teams coming out of the Eastern Conference have been finalized, the number two seed is still up for grabs. There were some intense moments in this game. The most notable was in the third quarter when LeBron James took a hard foul from Jermaine O’Neal resulting in a brief scuffle. O’Neal was handed a flagrant one, James a technical, and Dwyane Wade and Paul Pierce a double-technical. With this win Miami moves one game ahead of Boston for second place in the Eastern Conference. The Celtics are now facing the reality of entering the playoffs as the three seed with Miami's magic number down to two, with two games remaining.

Celtics miss Shaq: Miami dominated the paint. With about 1:49 to go in the first half, the Heat had already scored 26 points down low. Miami also racked up 15 offensive boards which led to 18 second chance points. There is absolutely no doubt Boston needs Shaq back ASAP. Without his defensive presence and big body they are getting toyed with in the paint. Nenad Kristic is a defensive liability and JO is not doing much to help (zero rebounds in nine first-half minutes). While it seemed like a great move at the time, Danny might now be regretting shipping Perk off.

 

Lack of Defense: The Celtics were outrebounded 42 to 26, and allowed the Heat to score 100 points on a whopping 50.7 percent from the field. The South Beach Super-trio finished with a combined 54 points on 51.3 percent shooting. If the Celtics want to get past Miami in what is surely going to be a second round matchup, they will need to extinguish this potent offense with strong defense.  

 

Bench Production: The Celtics second unit was outscored 32 to 12. In 25 minutes, potential Sixth Man of the Year recipient, Glen Davis, scored only six points, on 3-11 shooting. Backup point guard Delonte West was unable to get on the scoreboard in his 18.5 minutes of play. With shorter rotations in the playoffs, the Celtics may be able to overlook their shortcomings on the bench, but they will need better production from guys like Davis, West, Nenad Kristic, and Jeff Green

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