There isn’t always next year.
A live blog of the Eastern Conference Finals
Game 4 6/3/11
By Todd Bernard
It feels like a Brandon Bass kind of night. One of those home games where you can just picture him unloading mid-range jump shots on the regular.
There is talk about KG possibly using more of a post presence in this one, but I’m not hoping too much for that. Just give it a couple of “Dream Shakes” off the glass, some bank shots from around the foul line, and some spittin’ and screamin’ that only Kevin Garnett can provide, and that will serve. Hopefully it serves us well.
The defense in the last game was great, and many are talking about how the Celtics have to keep that up. I’m not writing this to state the obvious, but give me this one: You don’t beat the Miami Heat without great defense. They have the King, they have Wade, and they have a hungry supporting class of sharp-shooting veterans that can be borderline frightening.
Welcome to Boston. I see veteran official Joey Crawford jumping it up. Let’s hope we’re not crying at the water cooler about the referees tomorrow. The crowd is chanting “Lets Go Celtics” as Boston secures the tip. Pierce answers with a jump shot that goes in. Miami gives it away, and Rondo throws down an old school hook shot on the other end that would make Tommy Heinsohn proud. Jeff Van Gundy mentions Brandon Bass setting nice screens on consecutive trips.
Wade goes for a spinning lay-up that he is well known for, and underrated defender Paul Pierce forces it out of bounds. Let’s go captain. Rondo flies up the court and misses the lay-up, only to find Bass behind him with a rebound and a foul. Earn it at the stripe, big man.
Miami loves transition basketball, but their efforts are being thwarted by the guys in green getting their hands in there for deflections. Disruption is what it’s all about. Pierce drains a three. 11-4 Celtics.
Make that 14-4. Ray Allen joins the party with a three of his own. Time-out Miami.
Out of the time out Miami comes up short, with KG hitting a post up jump shot on the other end. Well there it is. Rondo steals it, two more for KG. Lebron has scored, but only because Bass tipped it in accidentally. Quickly to the other side Pierce drains a three, only to have it answered by Shane Battier with a three of his own. Time-out.
I like the pacing of this one so far. The Celtics have there heads up defensively, getting their hands in the passing lanes at every opportunity. The key is to limit Wade and James as they isolate, and they haven’t really tried much of it yet. Keeping the proverbial foot on the gas is the key to Boston’s success here.
We’re back and its Boston ball. Greg Steimsma has entered for Garnett, and Mike Miller for Miami. Do not leave him open. After a turnover, Lebron James just burned Bass to the rack. Another turnover leads to a missed three-pointer by Miller, but the Heat get the rebound. The Celtics are a poor rebounding team, and I don’t expect that to change now. Let’s just deal with it and win anyway, fans.
The crowd is quieting. Miami is up and running, and scoring. Another Celtics miss leads to two more for the Heat. After some scoring trips back and forth, Boston’s lead is eight. With two minutes left in the first, Dwyane Wade takes a seat. He won’t be there long. Chalmers throws the ol’ alley-oop to Lebron, one of many for the highlight reel that Heat fans have there morning coffee to on a regular basis.
Wait a second, did the Celtics just get an offensive rebound? Bass scoops up a Pierce miss and gets to the line. Let’s not get too used to that, but hey, I’m an optimistic guy. I think.
Rondo gets smacked in the face and makes a bucket, no foul. Its ok, it’s still early. We have all night to complain about officials. The physicality continues, as Udonis Haslem falls on Paul Pierce after colliding in the air. The refs called the foul. Pierce makes his free throws. The quarter winds down, and it’s 34-23 Boston.
Watch out for Lebron here. He wants to be aggressive, and if we let him it could be trouble. Garnett gets a great steal, and the point guard continues to lay off of Rondo, daring him to shoot. He doesn’t, but he finds Ray Allen for three.
After a Heat turnover, Rondo gets away with a travel, and finds Keyon Dooling in the corner for three. Timeout Miami. That’s how you start a quarter.
We’re back, and it’s Lebron for an easy two. On the other end, why not another Dooling three-ball? He rings it true and we might have a bench tonight. The score is 45-28 Boston. Is the Wade-train going to make it to North Station? It’s only a matter of time, right?
Dooling takes a seat to applause from the crowd. That might be a first. Not bad timing, I must say. Wade misses a shot, and Brandon Bass takes a hard foul from James Jones on the other end. He’s slow to get up, but trucks it over to the foul line where he makes them both. Another miss by Wade, and the Celtics are off and running. Mickael Pietrus misses a three but Rondo earns a tough rebound and gets fouled. Dooling checks back in for Rondo, and I suddenly miss Avery Bradley. Well, I have for some time. A true backup point guard is one of those glaring holes in the Celtics rotation.
Ray Allen is being himself tonight. By that I mean he just nailed another three. Eighteen point Celtic lead as we go to a timeout. Okay, the Allen shot was a two, after a review. It was one of those leaners as the shot clock was winding down, which is also a staple of Mr. Allen’s game.
Speaking of clocks winding down, doesn’t it seem like Rondo has a high buzzer-beater shooting percentage? I wonder if anyone has that statistic.
We are back from break, and the action has slowed a bit. Up until Lebron James gets called for an offensive foul on Paul Pierce. Great defense by the captain. Pierce then forces it inside for the foul, which was somehow not in the act of shooting. He goes for it again and gets it stripped by Wade, who gets to the line at the other end. There was a ton of contact by Wade on that strip, and the crowd is not happy. Nothing surprises me anymore, so let’s move on.
The Celtics are doing just that, as Rondo throws the alley-oop from way out to Garnett for the “and one.” The aggression from Rajon Rondo and Kevin Garnett in these playoffs has been crucial to the team’s success, and I am thrilled to see it continue. After another Miami miss, Rajon makes a beautiful pass to a driving Paul Pierce for the bucket and a foul. This is getting fun. The Celtics look like the better team thus far, and the score of 55-38 speaks to that point. Timeout.
Mike Miller hits a jump shot out of the time out. Not to be outdone, Pierce hits a jumper of his own AND gets fouled, then throws his arms in the air to get the crowd fired up. Timeout Boston, and we’re looking pretty good here Celtics fans. If you’re the type to knock on some parquet, go right ahead. I’ll be here all night.
The captain makes his free throw, and we’re under three minutes. Wade turns the ball over, and an anxious Pat Riley chews his nails. He’s not even the coach, yet.
There’s Dwyane Wade. He buries a three from the top, but only to be answered by Ray Allen. After another Miami turnover, Rondo charges into Shane Battier for an offensive foul. A little lip service gets Rajon a technical. Not that we mind, it’s all passion and intensity. I told you I was optimistic.
After a nice lay-up by Lebron, the half finally winds down. An aggressive showing by the Celtics on both ends is showing positive results, and little home-cooking never hurt anyone either. One can only hope this continues going into the second half. 61-47 Boston.
If this pace keeps up, we can win this thing. The “big two” of Miami are being kept in check, and the Celtics offensive machine is firing on all cylinders. A road game with this type of intensity could keep things moving in the right direction. Anything’s possible, right Kevin?
The third quarter is underway, and the scoring has slowed a bit. A huge block by KG on Lebron gets the crowd back into it, and Rondo works it up court to get the offense moving. An offensive foul call gives it back to Miami. The sub-par offense continues on both sides, until Rondo backs down Mario Chalmers for two.
Garnett now has double-digit rebounds, and Pierce is continuing the offensive intensity. KG swats away an alley-oop attempt from Chalmers, so Lebron responds by sending a Ray Allen lay-up attempt out of the way. The quarter is moving briskly along, and the Celtics have only scored four points. A little contact between Garnett and James leads to a little jawing, but nothing “tech-worthy.” That is actually a term that I don’t know the meaning to anymore.
A feisty Mario Chalmers takes a seat, and the rookie Norris Cole enters the game. Rondo takes advantage, and Cole is whistled for a foul upon entering. Ray Allen gets a little space, and makes a quick two. Lebron decides it’s time, and drives down the lane with authority for the slam. Keep an eye on Number Six. Bass hits a jumper with the shot clock winding down. Dwyane Wade answers on the other end, and the Celtics need to be careful here. Miami can go on runs that will not let up until they tie the game. The lead has shrunk to nine, at 69-60. Rondo sits.
The rookie Cole makes a nice pass to James, who gets fouled by Pierce. That will be the fourth foul on the captain. Rondo also has four. Time for the bench players to get us out of this third quarter. Hopefully with all our limbs intact.
Apparently Lebron James wants to learn how to play the piano. Hopefully he doesn’t learn how to play basketball in the fourth quarter anytime soon.
Wade hits a shot, and he has 14 points now. Talk about quietly. Marquis Daniels tries to make an impression off the bench, but misses the shot. Joel Anthony scores for Miami, and the lead is eight. Mickael Pietrus misses a couple of free throws, and then guess who: Wade buries a three and we have a five-point ball game. End of quarter. 73-68 Boston.
We are treading some dangerous waters now. Rondo brings it up. He is quickly double-teamed. Pierce misses the three and here come the Heat. Wade can’t get it to go but James Jones gets the rebound. Loose ball foul on Joel Anthony. Pietrus can’t get the triple to go and Miami comes back on offense. Nice block by Pietrus. The Celtics are looking slow as they trot up the court. There seems to be a change in attitude from the first half and it’s not sitting well with anyone on our side of the fence.
From the half-court set, the Celtics try to get Garnett involved in the post to no avail. He gets rid of it to Dooling in the corner who has it blocked out of bounds. Ray inbounds it to Paul Pierce who gets to the line. Fourth foul on Dwyane Wade.
As play continues we get a whistle at the other end, initially thought to be an offensive foul on Wade who threw an elbow into the chest of Pierce. The call ends up being a foul on Bass, and Battier nails a three and we have a two point game. The Celtics turn it over and Lebron James hits a lay-up after a nice pass from Norris Cole. We are tied at 74.
Garnett misses the turnaround and its Miami ball. The rookie Cole continues to impress as he lays it in uncontested. KG answers on the other side laying it in himself. Cole makes a nice up-fake on Bass to get to the line. That’s the fifth foul on Brandon.
After Miami goes up by two, the Celtics find Ray Allen for his fourth three-pointer. Garnett gets the steal, and Rondo settles in to run the offense. A wide open KG misses the jumper. Miami cannot score on the other end, and Garnett tips in the Bass miss to bring the score to 81-78 Boston.
Ray Allen fouls Dwyane Wade to put him at the line. I have a feeling this game is going to come down to a final shot.
Rondo gets set to run the offense, and we get the rare “double-foul” call on Garnett and Lebron. That makes five for King James.
KG looks to put a juke move on his defender, and he moves his pivot foot resulting in a travel. Lebron James watches on from the bench with his five fouls. The Celtics get the ball back and Pierce ties the game with a strong lay-up. The Heat miss a shot, causing a Celtics fast break, which only results in an offensive foul on Pierce. Shane Battier got excellent position and that one cannot be argued, folks.
Tie game. A little over three to go. James is back in, and the Celtics make a nice defensive stop. Rondo lays it in on the other end, and Miami calls for time. Boston by two.
We roll on, and after Lebron gets to the line off an ill-advised foul by Pietrus, KG hits a jump shot to put the Celtics up by three. Under two minutes now. Lebron misses a three, and Haslem grabs the offensive board. Chalmers misses a three, and its knocked out of bounds by Pierce. Wade hands it to Chalmers from the top of the key who makes the lay-up. Boston will get the ball with a one point lead after the Doc Rivers timeout.
One minute to go. Garnett gets the ball inside and makes it. Wade brings it up. Lebron James hit a three point shot to tie the game. Unbelievable.
Rondo brings it down and charges to the basket. In the process, Kevin Garnett is called for an offensive foul off the ball. The Miami Heat will have a chance to win the tied ball game with 21.1 seconds to go.
Battier to inbound. Wade with the ball. He takes his time, and finds James at the top. Haslem comes around the side to receive the pass, and misses the shot. We’re going to the extra period.
Miami wins the tip. James misses the mid-range shot, rebound Boston. Offensive foul on Paul Pierce, who has fouled out the game. He sits down with a scowl and a team-leading 23 points. Marquis Daniels checks in.
The shot from Miami is no good, and Pietrus misses a three at the other end. Udonis Haslem gets an easy lane to the basket for the jam. Rondo drives and dishes to Daniels who gets to the line. He makes one of two.
The Heat lead by one, and they find Chalmers who misses the three. Marquis Daniels gets the rebound, and bobbles it out of bounds. Miami ball. Chalmers drives it only to get blocked by Garnett. Rondo scores on the other end to put the Celtics up by one. 2:22 to play.
Lebron rushes a shot that’s no good, KG gets the rebound. Rondo can’t make the lay-up, and Lebron drives it at the other end and gets called for his sixth foul. Lebron James has fouled out the game.
Doc calls for a twenty second timeout with the Celtics leading by one. Ray misses the three but Pietrus secures the offensive rebound. Garnett shoots the three from the top of the key no good, and Pietrus get another offensive board. Daniels can’t make the shot. Heat ball under a minute, down by one.
Battier misses the three, and Daniels gets the rebound and is fouled right away. There was a foul to give, so no free throws. Rondo inbounds it to KG who throws it back and Rondo is fouled. He will get to the line for the first time tonight, with his team up by one and 21.4 on the clock.
The first is no good. He makes the second. Miami calls a timeout with the ball and a two point deficit. The Celtics have a foul to give.
James Jones to inbound. Wade gets it with Daniels defending, who uses the foul to give. Heat coach Eric Spoelstra uses a twenty second timeout. 14 seconds on the clock, Celtics by two.
The ball is inbounded to Wade. He launches the three pointer for the win. NO GOOD.
The Boston Celtics win Game 4 with a final score of 93-91.
This was an entertaining game to watch. It was also the first game I’ve ever watched whilst writing the entire time.
I hope you enjoyed my first live blog. It was an interesting experience to say the least.