Time: 7:00 PM EST, Tuesday, May 3rd, 2011
Venue: AmericanAirlines Arena, Miami, FL
Officials: Joe Crawford, Jason Phillips, Greg Willard (Report)
TV: TNT Radio: WEEI, WAXY
The Countdowninator: 12 wins remaining
GAME THREAD | WAR ROOM
Sunday was the past. Forget about it. Put it out of your mind. Don't talk to me about flagrant fouls, or missed opportunities, or poor officiating. The Celtics need to win 4 games, and they'll have 6 chances to do it, that's where we're at.
Tonight though we as fans should be optimistic. The Celtics have lost the first game of a seven game series four times in the four years Kevin Garnett has been here, and while they have won only two of those four series (Win: Chicago, 2009, Cleveland 2010. Loss: Orlando 2009, LA 2010), they followed up every Game 1 loss with a Game 2 win, whether it be home or away.
I don't think tonight will be any different, but it won't exactly be easy either.
We know what went wrong in Game 1. Rajon Rondo never quite got the offense moving in the way he would've wanted to. Paul Pierce got maybe a little too aggro. Kevin Garnett was about as offensive as Wayne Brady, and Jermaine O'Neal only played 21 minutes. On top of that Dwyane Wade turned in a superhero-esque performance, James Jones did something he won't do again in the playoffs (score 25 points on only 5 made field goals and 10 free throw attempts) and the Celtics didn't retain momentum long enough in the 4th quarter to catch up from a double-digit deficit *cough refs cough* that they created early by missing 20 of their first 26 shots.
Tonight there are a lot of smallish things that absolutely need to be done if Boston intends on taking the game *cough, different refs, cough*, but while I hate to feed into vagueries about effort and heart, Boston needs to want it more than Miami from the opening tip. As Doc Rivers said earlier today, Miami 'Hit first the entire game'. The were more aggressive pushing the ball, going for rebounds earlier, and heading into contact. The resulting outcome (Boston's struggles early) pretty much dictated the outcome of the game.
Tonight Boston needs to not only match Miami's energy levels, they need to surpass them. Tonight Boston needs to Bomb First, no more of this catch-up-in-the-second-half garbage.
Probable Starting Lineups And Key Match-Ups Courtesy Of Our Own Saint-In-Residence, FLCeltsFan
PG: Rajon Rondo................................................ SG: Ray Allen
C: Jermaine O'Neal
SF: Paul Pierce.................................................PF: Kevin Garnett
Boston Bench Mob
Shaquille O'Neal (calf/old age/Danny Smokescreen) day to day
PG: Mike Bibby.............................................. SG: Dwyane Wade
C: Zydrunas Ilgauskas
SF: LeBron James ..................................................PF: Chris Bosh
Udonis Haslem (foot) day to day
The Celtics have to come into this game angry and ready to play. If they don't, they don't deserve to win. After being treated unfairly by the refs and punked by the Heat, the Celtics need to have a chip on their shoulders and come out aggressive right from the beginning.
After bragging about how much better the Celtics bench was than the Heat bench, Big Baby finished with just 4 points and 4 rebounds and a whopping -21 in the +/- column. Jeff Green must be more aggressive on the boards. There is no excuse for a guy who is 6'9" tall and who has his athleticism and quickness to play over 21 minutes and not get a rebound. Delonte was just 3-9 from the field, missing not one but 2 dunks. One of the keys for this game is for our "superior" bench to play much better.
The Celtics played like they were the young and inexperienced team in game 1, allowing the Heat to be the more aggressive and physical team. They reacted to the heat instead of being the instigators and they got caught reacting and that frustrated them even more. They have to stay composed and execute their game plan without allowing themselves to get frustrated by the lack of calls or by the physical play of the Heat.
Both teams can point to areas that they can improve. Both Bosh and LeBron could play better. No one on the Heat bench played well other than James Jones. Udonis Haslem is considered day to day and may make his return to the team sometime in this series. For the Celtics, KG, Rondo and Pierce can all play better. The Celtics bench certainly can play better. And Doc has said that Shaq should play in either game 2 or game 3. Chances are that James Jones doesn't shoot that well in every game. Hopefully the refs aren't as blatant in calling the game one sided again. If the Celtics play with some intensity and fire and they avoid getting caught up in mind games, they have a good chance of winning this game, regardless of the officiating.
Rajon Rondo vs Mike Bibby
Rondo was hampered much of game 1 with foul trouble after picking up 3 quick fouls early in the first half. He played only 29 minutes in the game but while he was in the game, the Celtics outscored the Heat by 7. While he was sitting, the Celtics struggled to find their offense. Rondo had just 7 assists for the game and none in the first half. The Celtics as a team had only 18 assists, which is way below their average. Rondo shot only 30% in spite of taking all his shots in the paint. He also was not using his speed to his advantage, allowing the much slower Bibby to stay with him on defense. The bottom line is that the Celtics need a more Rondo-like game from their point guard if they want to win this game.
Ray Allen vs Dwyane Wade
Dwyane Wade went off for 38 points in game 1 while Ray Allen put up 25 of his own. The Celtics will need to defend Wade better and not allow him to get the open looks that he was able to get in game 1. Ray needs to stay hot for the Celtics and they need to set screens to get him open as he is the Celtics most efficient scorer at this point.
Kevin Garnett vs Chris Bosh
The Celtics once again were able to keep Bosh from being a factor in the game. He scored just 7 points but did pull down 12 rebounds. The Celtics weren't able to take advantage of this because KG played just as poorly. He shot just 3-9 for 6 points to go with 8 rebounds. The Celtics need KG to be more aggressive and to be a factor if they want to win this game. They have to work on getting KG going early and hopefully he will hit his shots in this one.
Paul Pierce vs LeBron James
The Celtics held James to a pedestrian 22 points on 8-19 shooting. Paul Pierce did a good job defending him but sacrificed some of his own offense in doing so. He struggled on offense early but was heating up in the second half just about the time when he was tossed from the game. There is no question that both James Jones and Dwyane Wade should have gotten flagrant fouls for their contact with Pierce, but even when the calls are that one sided and terrible, Pierce has got to keep his cool. He should expect more of the same in game 2 and not allow it to take him out of his game. Jones and Wade were clearly the aggressors and Pierce got caught retaliating. He dodged a bullet by avoiding a suspension and may not be as lucky the next time. He must not let the refs or the Heat get under his skin and he has to let his game do the talking instead of his mouth.