Boston Celtics (4-0)/(0-0) at Miami Heat (4-1)/(0-0)
Sunday, May 1
3:30 PM ET
Playoff Game #5 Road Game #3
Radio: WEEI, WAXY
American Airlines Arena
Referees: Dan Crawford, Derrick Collins, Ed Malloy
Game Thread l Chat
This is the matchup that everyone assumed would happen from the opening night of the regular season when they faced each other. There are so many sub-plots in this series and there is sure to be plenty of drama. The Celtics won 3 of 4 from the Heat in the regular season, losing only their last game when the Celtics were in the midst of their end of the year mini-slump.
For LeBron James, this has to be personal. First of all, he hasn't been able to get past the Celtics in the playoffs since the 2007-08 season. The Celtics embarrassed LeBron's Cavs in last year's playoffs as they were expected to steamroll through the playoffs but came up short as LeBron put in sub-par performances due to either his boo-boo elbow or his mother's indiscretions, depending on who you believe.
The Celtics bench, in spite of being loaded, played poorly against the Knicks. In 3 of the 4 games, Doc was forced to play the starters more minutes because the bench was giving up leads and not playing well. In the 4th game, the bench finally started to play well and even increased the lead when they were in. The Celtics will need strong play from Big Baby, Jeff Green and Delonte especially. Hopefully a few good days of practice will help them play up to their capabilities. Shaq's status is still up in the air as is the status of both Udonis Haslem and Mike Miller for the Heat.
It will be important for the Celtics to get off to a strong start in this game and in the series. They need to get the first punch in and not let up. They need to keep the Heat on their heels and not allow them to gain confidence in this series.
Be Aggressive - The Celtics have got to be aggressive in getting to the basket and not settle for jumpers all game. They also have to be aggressive in diving for loose balls and winning the 50-50 battles. The Celtics can't afford to give up possessions by failing to hustle after loose balls and after rebounds. They also must take it to the basket especially if the jumpers aren't falling.
Playoff games: 6
Home Team Win %: .667
Fouls called per game: 44
% of fouls called on road team 52%
Dan Crawford has been a referee in the NBA since the 1984-85 season. Prior to the NBA, Crawford officiated in high school for 12 years, 8 years at the collegiate level (MVC and CCAC) and 4 years in the CBA. He has officiated 1,600+ regular season games, 190+ play-off games and 18 NBA Finals games. After one of the games in Chicago in round 1 in 2008, there was some controversy when he was seen leaving the arena with his family all decked out in Chicago Bulls gear. He's been in the news lately because he has been accused of having a bias against Marc Cuban because the Mavs are 2-16 in games officiated by Crawford. The Celtics are 6-1 this season and are 7-3 over their last 10 game with Crawford officiating. The loss this season was the last Miami game in which the Heat shot 42 free throws to 26 for theCeltics, but then again the Celtics did not play well in that game. The Heat are 2-2 this season and 5-5 in their last 10 with Crawford on the court. Crawford is a homer ref with a home team W/L record of 55-21.
Playoff games: 2
Home Team Win %: .000
Fouls called per game: 50
% of fouls called on road team 51%
Collins has been an official in the league for 9 years. He has experience in the CBA five years and in the WNBA three years. He has also officiated 7 years on the collegiate level and seven years on the high school level in California and Louisiana. The Celtics are 3-3 with Collins this season and 6-4 in their last 10 games. In all 6 games this season, the Celtics took fewer free throws than their opponents. The Nets and Lakers games were particularly poorly officiated. The Heat are 4-0 this season and 8-2 in their last 10 games with Collins. His home W/L record this season is 40-30.
Playoff games: 4
Home Team Win %: .75
Fouls called per game: 48.5
% of fouls called on road team 52.1%
Ed Malloy has officiated over 230+ regular season games. Controversy between Malloy and Doc Rivers goes way back. In 2003, when Doc was with Orlando, Malloy called a technical foul on Andrew DeClercq for staring. Doc called it one of the worst calls he ever saw (boy has he seen a lot worse since then!)and he said that he felt that Malloy had been intimidated all night. Fast forward to the Celtics game in Utah this season when Malloy, no longer intimidated, called 2 quick technicals on Doc and ejected him. Here is Doc's version of those calls.
“I just told Ed [Malloy], please keep officiating the game,” said Rivers. “That’s all I said. I thought the play before [the technical] was a clear travel in front of him. So I just said, ‘Hey Ed, it’d be nice if you’d keep officiating throughout.’ He gave me a tech. Then I said, ‘That’s the best call you’ve made all night.’ Usually, it’s nice to earn them, but [Monday's technicals were] another bad call.”
Malloy was also on the crew that officiated game 1 of the Miami series in last year's playoffs where 5 technicals were called and Kevin Garnett was ejected. The Celtics are 7-1 this season and 9-1 in their last 10 games with Malloy as an official. He was terrible in the Golden State game where the Warriors had taken 26 free throws to 6 for the Celtic with about 8 minutes left in the game. The final numbers were 28-11 after several intentional fouls gave the Celtics a few more free throws. The Heat are 1-1 this season and 1-9 over their last 10 games with Malloy as a ref. His home W/L record is 44-32.