Author: Matt Moore

Boston Celtics v Miami Heat - Game Two

Celtics-Heat Game 4: The bizarre development of the Boston offensive juggernaut


It makes no sense, you understand. We’re talking about throwing away not just the stats, forget the stats. We’ve seen it. We’ve seen the Boston offense not only struggle, but look absolutely apoplectic for six months. That Sixers series was something out of a Rob Zombie film on offense. It wasn’t just gross, it was poorly done with little cohesion. And that defense was worse than Miami’s! But yet here we are, and we’re going to have to live with it.

Boston can score on Miami. Often, and well. The Celtics have a 98.2 offensive efficiency in the playoffs, which is dreadful. Against Miami through three games, they have a 107.6 offensive rating. Which is spectacular. Boston can score. It makes no sense, but that was the trend in the regular season, and that’s the trend now. Miami’s defense is every bit as good as Boston’s, and yet neither team can stop one another (Miami has a 109 offensive efficiency vs. Boston in the Conference Finals). And what’s even crazier? That’s the Celtics’ best chance to win. Out-gun the mighty Heat.

In Game 1, Boston tried making it into a streetfight. Slowed the game down, tried to make it into their kind of mud-wrestling match. Miami walloped them. In Game 2, they broke the game open and nearly won. In Game 3, they took them to the races and ran them out of the building. This is the way. It goes against everything Boston does philosophically, it goes against logic and reason, but this is Boston’s best chance at evening this series, winning this series, “shocking the world.” (Note: Most people picking the Heat does not in any way indicate that Boston winning would shock the world. Most people would not be surprised if you told them before the series that Boston would win. They’d be surprised you traveled back in time to tell them the outcome of the NBA’s Eastern Conference Finals series.)

So we’re just going to have to adjust. Boston hasn’t even gotten all its weapons going. Paul Pierce is still barely scoring more points than field goal attempts, Ray Allen is still spotty, and in reality it was Marquis Daniels and Keyon Dooling who carried the day in Game 4. So they can play better on offense. Miami will find ways to adjust, but some things they can’t adjust to. They can’t get longer to battle Kevin Garnett. They can’t get faster to cover Rajon Rondo. And if the Celics keep up this “fire when ready” approach, running the offense through Rondo and not Pierce, they’ve got a great chance at winning Game 4 and sending the Heat back to South Beach with their tails between their legs.

Miami has to slow down Boston. (Things you never thought you would say.) They need to get their transition defense back, get better interior rotations, and stay engaged defensively. They can score on their own end, and the formula isn’t tough. Dwyane Wade and LeBron James score a lot of points. If Wade has another off day, they’re sunk. That’s just the reality without Bosh, but their bigger concern is defense.

It’s strange, it’s baffling, it’s against what we know and understand. But this plodding, awful Boston offense that relies on contested jumpers can score on the Heat, at will. The degree of how much will determine whether the Heat can put the Celtics to the edge of the shore.

Report: Suns have interest in Alonzo Gee

Manny Harris, Samardo Samuels, Jamario Moon, Alonzo Gee, Ramon Sessions

Alonzo Gee is what you might call a value free-agent this summer. The Cavs forward has athleticism, youth on his side, a versatile skill-set, and strong upside. But he hasn’t played well enough or under a big enough microscope to carry with him serious buzz. So teams are going to get their shot at making an offer for Gee and stealing him away from Cleveland. And one team is reportedly the Suns. From the Ohio Mourning Journal:

Cavs forward Alonzo Gee might draw some serious interest this summer in free agency. The Suns could make a lucrative offer to Gee. One source said they could offer Gee a four-year, $16 million offer and hope that the Cavs don’t match it.

via NBA INSIDER: Cavs need to sit tight in draft –

For $4 million a year, it’s hard to see the Cavs not matching. A possible exception would be if the Cavaliers were to somehow move up or have Michael Kidd-Gilchrist slide down to the four spot and that fills their small forward spot. But the Cavs would have strong inclination to match. They’re bullish on Gee’s production and upside, and he’s had some strong games for the Cavs over the past two years.

Value guys in this league are a must to find, especially for a rebuilding franchise. Small forward is a spot where you have to have athleticism. If the Cavs don’t put together a strong offer for Gee, someone will.

Celtics-Heat Game 4: Chris Bosh still out

Chris Bosh

Same story, different day.

Chris Bosh will not be riding to the rescue of the Miami Heat as they try and put the chokehold on the Celtics in Game 4 in Boston.ESPN reports:

Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said Saturday that Bosh won’t play Sunday and reiterated the All-Star forward has not yet advanced far enough in his recovery from an abdominal strain to gauge when he might be available for game action.

“I’m not thinking about Chris today — I’m not,” Spoelstra said before the Heat’s practice at TD Garden. “He’s not on my mind. And I love you, Chris, but I’m focused on Sunday. That’s where all of my energies are focused right now.

via 2012 NBA playoffs — Chris Bosh will not return for Game 4 of Eastern Conference finals – ESPN.

The Heat badly need Bosh back to counter Kevin Garnett, who ate Miami alive in Game 3. The Heat have no counter for Garnett, and their attempts at fronting were spoiled in Game 3 by Rajon Rondo simply lobbing it over the defense to the longer Garnett. Miami can survive either Rondo or Garnett going off. Not both. Bosh counters that with length. It’s not about defending Garnett on his shot, because that’s all muscle memory for the old guy, or muscling him in the post. It’s simply a matter of Bosh’s length disrupting the offense.

But they won’t have that help on Sunday, Bosh is out, and the Heat will have to win on the road in a tough environment without him.

Quote of the Day: Pop was there, he saw it.

Kevin Durant, Thunder, Spurs, Tim Dunan

And that’s why Pop’s the best.

Durant’s performance in Game 4 was not the first dominant performance Popovich has seen in the playoffs. He’s faced some of the greatest in the game, so he’s seen some big moments. This isn’t going to faze him but he is going to appreciate it. and more importantly, Popovich knows that players like Durant are going to have those nights and you can’t stop them or control them. You do your best. But the reason the Spurs lost was not because of Durant, but because of their defense on the rest of the Thunder, which was terrible.

But yes, he saw Durant and yes, he was dominant. Trust him. He was there.

Report: Suns to pursue Deron Williams. What, is Magic Johnson unavailable?

Cleveland Cavaliers v New Jersey Nets

The New York Daily News reports that if Steve Nash leaves the Suns in free agency, the Suns will make a bid for Deron Williams.

“If they lose Steve, then they plan to go after Deron, hard,” said a person with knowledge of the Suns’ plans. “They know he loves golf and they’re going to try to sell him on going out there.”

via If Steve Nash bolts, Phoenix Suns may make a push for Deron Williams – NY Daily News.

… Golf?

That’s your plan?


Williams has his choice of re-signing with the Nets for the most money and years allowed under the new CBA, being built as a global superstar by owner Mikhail Prokhorov, and bringing with it all the sponsorship opportunities and lifestyle of living in the greatest city in the world. He can sign with his hometown Dallas Mavericks, pairing him with a Hall-of-Famer in Dirk Nowitzki and an owner that has proven he’ll spend in order to win. He can pair himself with just about any superstar in the league, and your plan of attack to reportedly attempt to convince him to sign with you when your best player is Marcin Gortat is to lure him with … golf?

The report seems like an assistant GM mentioned that they’d love to pair Williams with Alvin Gentry and Gortat, or a player of that ilk. I’m sure the Suns will make an offer, if Williams’ agent picks up the phone. But in an NBA where I firmly believe it is nearly impossible to predict what happens next, even that stretches the boundaries of “reasonably possible.”