Tag: Boston Miami game 4

Boston Celtics forward Pierce defends Miami Heat forward James during the fourth quarter of Game 3 of their NBA Eastern Conference playoff series in Boston

NBA Playoffs: Boston got one, but can they beat a better Heat?


Boston looked good in getting the Game 3 — they were defending again, they had the inspiration of Rajon Rondo’s rreturn, they got big games from Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce…

Which is to say just about everything except Rondo’s elbow went right for Boston. Don’t expect that to be the case a second game in a row. This time things will be closer, and Boston is going to have to fight and defend harder to get the win.

The Heat are going to make starting lineup changes, and the smart money says they will start Mario Chalmers at the point and his job will be to attach himself to Rondo’s right him and play him hard. Force him to go left. Do not back off all the time and do what he wants, he’s not going to shoot a jumper. If Rondo can handle that pressure the Celtics will be one up.

The other big advantage in Game 3 was that Kevin Garnett dominated his matchup with Chris Bosh, who did his Pau Gasol impression for a game. Boston needs to win this battle again, if Miami and Bosh can force it to a stalemate (as it was the first two games) they win.

Boston once again has to keep LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Bosh in check — that is where the majority of the scoring has to come from for the Heat. There is no balance. The three combined for 44 points in Game, while Pierce and Garnett had 55. Boston needs that kind of win, again.

The Celtics stand a better chance of getting one big game out of their role players — Delonte West is the most likely. While Miami will not get a lot of points out of their subs (unless the Celtics leave James Jones open a lot again) the bench battle is one the Celtics must win big.

The Celtics need things to go right, but they have been here before. They are used to the pressure and the intensity. They know how to make things go right.

Does Miami? That may be the biggest question. This is the first real big test of the playoffs, the first real question asked of this Heat team. How do they answer? With renewed defensive intensity, or do they still look like a deer in the headlights?

Either way, you can bet this game will be a lot closer than Game 3, likely going right down to the wire.

Erik Spoelstra may tweak starting lineup. Finally.

Erik Spoelstra

Miami’s starting five has been a disaster these playoffs.

The Heat are still winning games, but they are not going to continue doing that consistently playing out of a hole. So far in these playoffs, the starting five for the Heat — LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh with Mike Bibby and Zydrunas Ilgauskas — has been outscored by 40 points per 48 minutes. (Stats via NBA Statscube)

Finally, Erik Spoelstra is apparently going to do something about it.

He would not tell the media at shootaround Monday who would start that night, and added that he would not discuss the issue at pregame media availability, according to a tweet from John Schuhmann of NBA.com.

Before every other game, Spoelstra has announced who was starting at shootaround and he defended his starters in the past.

Sunday at practice Spoelstra was not so defensive anymore, as reported by our man Ira Winderman at the Sun Sentinel.

“I’m looking at everything right now and I’ll continue to look at that for the next day.”

He followed up by saying of the team’s practice session at Emerson College, “We walked through quite a different amount of situations, different lineups.”

Switch Mario Chalmers for Bibby and Joel Anthony for Ilgauskas and the Heat outscore opponents by 36 points per 48 minutes.

There are more practical reasons to make the moves now. Having Ilgauskas on the bench lets you sub him in and play him just when you need to against the size of Shaquille O’Neal. And Chalmers is a much better defender than Bibby (who isn’t?), and that means someone who could put more ball pressure on an injured Rajon Rondo.

We’ll see if he actually goes through with it — Spoelstra, like most coaches, does not want to make changes mid-playoffs. But if the Heat want to advance, he may not have a choice.

Dwyane Wade is a train and Kevin Garnett is on the tracks

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When Dwyane Wade wants to take over a game, he takes it over. When Dwyane Wade wants to dunk the ball, he dunks the ball.

Which is why you should not stand in his way. Even if your last name is Garnett.