Through four games, the Miami Heat have exposed and exploited so many advantages against the Boston Celtics that it’s hard to logically pick the Celtics in Game 5 Wednesday night in Miami. A win and the Heat close out the series, and a Miami win seems as inevitable as David Caruso taking off his sunglasses and uttering a terrible one liner in a CSI:Miami episode.
It’s just hard to write off these Celtics. They are prideful and no doubt they will not go quietly. They will battle. They have players — Paul Pierce, Ray Allen — capable of getting hot and basically winning a game single handedly.
But if they are going to win, they have got to fix a lot of things fast.
It starts with taking back the paint. Whether using dribble penetration (Game 4) or player movement on the weakside with good ball movement (Games 1, 2) the Heat have got their baskets in close. If you are going to beat the Heat you must make them jumpshooters (and in Game 1 Wade hit those anyway).
Also, the Celtics have not made the Heat pay for relatively small lineups (with Joel Anthony) at center. They have to find a way, and without Shaq.
As he did in Game 3, Kevin Garnett must dominate his matchup with Chris Bosh. He cannot play him to a standstill, he must win it and win it big.
They have to dominate the point guard battle. Which will be hard with the one-armed Rajon Rondo, but Mike Bibby is not good and Mario Chalmers is still someone Rondo should dominate. Well, healthy Rondo would. Theoretically (he didn’t earlier in the series before his left elbow injury). This was the Celtic’s clear matchup advantage coming in and they have not exploited it.
Boston needs to keep Miami out of transition. There are a lot of things that can be added to the list but this is enough for now.
On the road with their backs against the wall, the Celtics have to play their best game of the series to even have a chance.
But do you really doubt they can?
At this point, there is zero chance Russell Westbrook‘s posts are a coincidence.
First. he posted a video of himself singing along to Lil Uzi Vert’s “Now I Do What I Want.”
Then came the shoe ad that was another little jab at now Warriors Kevin Durant.
Now comes Westbrook’s return to karaoke posts, this time singing Taylor Swift’s “We Are Never Getting Back Together” and Katy Perry’s “Wide Awake.”
Apparently, Westbrook and Durant are having one rough teenage breakup.
One of the great stories of last season was the return of Paul George to All-Star level form (then to watch him be crucial to the USA winning gold this summer).
It was a great story because vintage Paul George was so great. Watch this throwback video of him blowing by LeBron James and dunking over Chris Andersen from a few years back — this is vicious.
By the way, if you’re not following NBA history on Twitter and Instagram, you’re doing it wrong.
Chris Bosh wants to play basketball this season. Of that, there is no doubt.
The question is will the Heat let him after he missed the end of the last two seasons due to potentially life-threatening blood clots? If so, will he have minutes or travel restrictions?
Bosh is working out to get ready for the season — he posted a video of it Monday on Snapchat, showing off his handles, and put it this way: Ues, he’s hooping.
The Heat and Bosh need to come to common ground on this before training camp opens. Bosh is on blood thinners for his condition, the team and he need to decide if he can come off them on game days or if there is another protocol that works for everyone.
The Heat would be a vastly better team with Bosh on the court this season, but that didn’t motivate them to bring him back during the playoffs last season (even though he wanted to). Whatever happens, Bosh wants to play.
Twenty years before Colin Kaepernick made his stand by sitting for the national anthem during preseason games — something he has every right to do: if we are going to force compliance in our rituals of allegiance how are we different as a nation than the countries we rail against for forced indoctrination? — the NBA had Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf.
For those that don’t remember, Abdul-Rauf was a good NBA guard and a member of a Denver Nuggets in the mid-1990s. He had converted to being a Muslim during his playing career. As his faith and beliefs grew, he came to view the flag as a symbol of oppression. In the middle of the 1995-96 season, he told the NBA he would no longer stand for the anthem. Everything was kept quiet for a while, but when the PR storm hit it led to a few strange days — the league suspended him at one point — before was a compromise where he would stand for the anthem but pray into his hands during it.
Bernie Bickerstaff was the coach of the Nuggets at the time and went on SiriusXM NBA Radio Monday to talk about those days. His first reaction was that of virtually every coach who has heard or talked about Kaepernick.
“Distractions,” Bickerstaff said. “It caused a lot of distractions, and you know at that point the number of media members was not quite as resounding as it is today. But still, it was a distraction.”
Bickerstaff said he was blindsided byAbdul-Rauf’s decision, and he said they scrambled to deal with the fallout. He said he and the brain trust of the team eventually had a meeting with the guard and told him if he wanted to be on the team he had to stand for the anthem.
“We had him come in, to sit down and have a conversation, and the conversation was about, the one thing that we have in this life is freedom of choice, and with that choice comes consequences. And my conversation with him was simply that one of the guys I probably admired most at that time was Muhammad Ali, because not only did he make a decision not to step forward but it was the part of it, the things that he gave up, and our message basically to (Abdul-Rauf) was ‘Hey, that’s the guy I admire. If you really feel that way then you go home, and you give us a call and let us know you’re willing to walk away from that contract, and then I can really, really, respect that…
“When he got home, we got a call and he said ‘I think I want to be on the trip.’ And that’s our understanding, if you’re on the trip, then you’re standing.”
The NBA came in with a more fair compromise.
If this were to happen again with the NBA, it would be interesting to see how Adam Silver would handle this compared to the heavy-handed David Stern.