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No Benefits For Flash In Final Moments

A Daily Babble Production

Whether Dwyane Wade received much star treatment from the referees during the first 46 minutes of last night's Heat-Celtics game remains up for debate.  In the last two minutes, Wade got nothing from the crew of Greg Willard, James Capers and Brian Forte.

With the game tied at 95 and a shade less than two minutes to play, the Celtics took possession after a Miami shot clock violation.  It took Wade eight seconds to pick up his first foul of the possession, a hold on Paul Pierce, which may have been intentional, given that Pierce was preparing to drive, and the Heat had a foul to give.  His second foul in 10 seconds was definitively not purposeful.  As Pierce rose to shoot from the right wing, Wade rose with him and got whistled for knocking PP's arm.  The two foul shots gave the Celtics a lead they would never relinquish on their way to a 105-98 victory.

On the ensuing Miami possession, Flash launched a three-pointer with a Celtic running out at him and fell to the floor as the ball caromed off the rim.  Given that I didn't see a great angle of the play, I can't say for sure that he didn't get hit, but he did not receive a call.  As the Celtics brought the ball back down the floor, CSN's Mike Gorman noted that while he didn't see Wade verbally complaining to the refs, he didn't look happy about the calls.  Tommy Heinsohn  saw it a bit differently, of course, asserting that Wade was whining at every chance.

The Heat got one more possession with the game still relatively close.  Down four, Wade drove to the rim with just outside 40 seconds left, either drew contact or came very close to drawing contact with Big Baby Davis' chest, tossed up a contested lay-up and missed.  No call.  More scowling.  Perhaps more yammering.

I mention all this not because I believe there to be an anti-Celtic conspiracy in general or because I wish to applaud the referees for the job they did at the end of the game.  I didn't see the plays quite clearly enough to know for sure if they did a great job or not.  Gun to the head, I'd say he did foul Pierce on the shot, he didn't get hit on the three-pointer and the non-call against the Infuriated Infant could have gone either way.

While I'm not a subscriber to most conspiracy theories, the concept of star treatment is a reality that permeates sports culture today.  Of course, it would be ideal if everyone was officiated the same way all the time, but when there is gray area or anything even close to that, it isn't a shock to see a high-status player get the benefit of the doubt on a call, especially with the game on the line. 

During the most crucial portion of last night's game, Dwyane Wade failed to receive any help from the officials over three critical plays on which he normally might have been expected to do so.  Whether this is a tribute to great refereeing, home cooking for the Celtics or something in between will be for those who evaluate the refs (hello, NBA office and CelticsBlog audience!) to decide.  But it sure was an intriguing sight to see.

Quick-hitters from the Celtics' final step in sweeping a five-game homestand:

  • The Infuriated Infant strikes again!  Fantastic dunk in traffic early in the game, couple of jumpers, couple of takes inside, great lefty pseudo-hook to extend the lead to four in the final minute.  The five offensive rebounds to go with his 20 points didn't hurt either.
  • Perk couldn't hit the broad side of a barn around the rim for much of the night, going 5-for-15 from the field.  But credit him for another three blocked shots at the other end, including one in the final minute on Jermaine O'Neal.  That said, JO did have a few too many easy buckets early on.
  • Another impressive outing at the New Garden for Michael Beasley.  He showed off his mid-range jumper and his ability to attack with that left hand in posting 23 points on 10-for-20 shooting to go with his 13 rebounds.
  • Speaking of former Kansas State Wildcats, Bill Walker completed an alley-oop from Rajon Rondo that is best described by the word awesome.
  • Great outside shooting: Only three Celtics attempted threes, but they made them count.  Eddie House hit his only attempt (off the feed from guess who?), and Ray Allen went 4-for-8.  But the story from the outside was Paul Pierce, who nailed a tightly contested three early and then hit on three more even better looks in the second half en route to a 4-for-5 performance from the outside.  The team shot an excellent 9-for-14 for the game from deep while holding the Heat to 6-for-19 on threes.
  • Good game across the board for Pierce, who knocked down his mid-range shot with ease in addition to hitting his threes.  Putting up 28 points on 78 percent true shooting with eight rebounds and just one turnover works.  Interesting box score surprise: Pierce didn't hand out a single assist.
  • Mikki Moore came off one of if not his single best game as a Celtic with a considerably less impressive effort.  No rebounds in 17 minutes, and fouls all over the place, including knocking Wade down 90 feet from the basket on an offensive rebound attempt late in the first quarter that gave Flash two foul shots.  Ugh.
  • Rajon Rondo did what he does best, giving the Celtics a little bit of everything with a near triple-double.  Loved the aggressiveness on the three-point play at the end of the first half.
  • Fantastic second quarter for Stephon Marbury.  Knocked down four of his five shots, hit two wisely taken jumpers, beat his man to the rim once and made a beautiful hanging-in-the-air play to evade Wade and finish off the glass from the right side.  And of course, he dished to Eddie House for another three.

Here's to finding a way to pull one out at the Q.

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