Tag: Celtics Heat Game 6

Erik Spoelstra

Erik Spoelstra once went to Doc Rivers for coaching advice


Coaches like to learn from each other. Not only within their own sport but also from great coaches in other sports — during the lockout the Heat’s Erik Spoelstra spent time with Chip Kelly, the Oregon football coach, trying to learn about space and attacking.

Spoelstra also once sought advice from Doc Rivers.

Spoelstra attended a coaching clinic where Rivers was one of the speakers. A. Sherrod Blakely talked to both men about it for CSNNE.com.

“While he’s highly regarded in his schematics and X’s and Os, I was more curious about the management of personalities,” Spoelstra said. “That’s really ultimately what it’s about in this league….”

Rivers recalls looking out in the audience and seeing Spoelstra.

“You’re talking to 200 coaches and you see Erik there, you’re like, ‘I’m not going to say this … ATO (after-timeout) stuff, I’m not sharing that,” quipped Rivers.

At the NBA level, management of egos and personalities is a lot of the job. Your role players were the best player on their high school and college teams, now you’re asking them to come off the bench 20 minutes a night and fill a role. You’re getting guys to buy into a system.

Rivers has done that as well as any coach going. Spoelstra… it’s a work in progress.

Fans send Boston off with four-minute “Let’s go Celtics” chant

Miami Heat v Boston Celtics - Game Three

The way Boston laid an egg in Game 6, not a lot of fan bases would have stuck around to the end. Plenty would have mixed in a smattering of boos.

But Celtics fans did the opposite. The ones that remained at the end of a crushing loss broke into a four-minute long “Let’s go Celtics” chant. The Celtics noticed, reports A. Sherrod Blakely at CSNNE.com.

“Did you hear our crowd the last three minutes of the game?” (coach Doc) Rivers asked to no one media member in particular.  “What other crowd in the NBA does that? It’s a terrific place to play. The fans were unbelievable. They did their part tonight. We just didn’t do ours.”

Added Paul Pierce: “We have the best fans in the world. Down 20, at home, in the playoffs, and they cheer us off the court. And that’s just awesome. That’s why we have the best fans in the world.”

It was a fitting send off as those fans may never see the “Big Three” Celtics together again. There is a Game 7 in Miami and a summer of uncertainty with Ray Allen and Kevin Garnett free agents.

By the way, if you thought this gesture was cool by the Celtics fans you can no longer mock “good job, good effort” kid. Boston was the same thing on a bigger scale.

(Hat tip to Eye On Basketball for the video.)

Video: LeBron James’ high-flying putback dunk

Miami Heat v Boston Celtics - Game Six
1 Comment

Most of LeBron James 45 points came outside the paint, but when he went to the rim he went hard.

Like this putback near the end of the second quarter where LeBron’s biggest concern was hitting his head on the rim, a shot that had twitter buzzing. LeBron’s whole game had twitter buzzing and carried the Heat to a Game 6 win.

Now he just has to do it again.

“Fearless” LeBron carries Heat, but he’ll have to do it again

Miami Heat v Boston Celtics - Game Six

Sometimes it’s good to have the best player on the planet on your team.

LeBron James made Boston Garden his own personal playground for Game 6 — 45 points, 15 rebounds and five assists. It was as dominant a performance as he has given in the playoffs. He set the tone from the opening moments and pushed the Heat into a Game 7 with a 98-79 win.

“He was absolutely fearless tonight,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said in a televised press conference after the game. “And it was contagious.”

Now, he just has to do it again.

The problem for Miami is that to win with this roster they need exceptional games from James and/or Dwyane Wade. Not good, they got that in Game 5 and lost. They need exceptional, heroic efforts. That’s the only way they can score enough. It’s the only way they have been able to win — it was that way against the Pacers in the previous round, it is the same now. It’s what LeBron faced in Cleveland, for that matter.

So, can he do it again?

“I don’t know,” LeBron said with a shrug after the game. “I will tell you every game is its own (thing). I will continue to try to be aggressive. I will continue to try to play at a high level like I have done this whole postseason.”

LeBron took control of Game 6 from the opening tip, shooting 6-for-7 for 14 points in the first quarter, pushing the Heat to a 16-point lead. It didn’t stop, he got hotter in the second quarter and had 30 points by the half.

LeBron had a real lift in his shot — he was taking a lot of jump shots and fadeaways — but because of the spring in his step he was elevating over defenders and there were some pretty good looks. There were also contested, difficult shots. Didn’t matter. They all went in.

With the jumper falling, everything opened up. LeBron blew past guys off the dribble to get into the lane. He would pump fake and the Celtics defenders would bite, then LeBron leaned in and drew the foul. When the Celtics went zone, he cut to the middle of the paint, caught the pass and hit the turnaround. Boston went to Brandon Bass to be more physical in the second half, so LeBron started moving without the ball and left Bass in his dust. LeBron scored pretty much any way he pleased.

“I hope now you guys can stop talking about LeBron and how he doesn’t play in big games,” Celtics coach Doc Rivers said. “He was pretty good tonight. Now that’s to bed.”

But that meme is not dead, not with a lot of fans who love to hate LeBron following the graceless way he left Cleveland for Miami. If Miami falls short at home in Game 7, for whatever reason, it will be LeBron’s fault. And for the Heat to win, he will need another monster game.

And this kind of game may not be sustainable. LeBron knocked down eight shots from the midrange, and that is hard to sustain. LeBron did a lot of damage in the halfcourt; he did it without many easy transition buckets. That’s not usually his game.

LeBron’s 45/15/5 was better than Boston’s entire Big Three (31 points, 13 rebounds, two assists). And the only way the Heat can beat Boston in Game 7 and return to the finals is another game like that from LeBron. Again, only he and Wade (17 points) scored in double figures. Miami can only win when one or both of them go off.

It is the sad reality for LeBron now, fair or not — Thursday night he was dynamic and incredible, but he’ll have to do it again Saturday to reach his goal. There would not be a Game 7 without LeBron. But unless he steps up again, perceptions will not change.

Chris Bosh again to come off bench for Heat in Game 6

Miami Heat v Boston Celtics - Game Six

Everybody talked about how Chris Bosh was not on the court for the Heat in the fourth quarter of Game 5. I bet he is in Game 6.

But he will not be there at the start.

Bosh will come off the bench again for the Heat in Game 6, coach Erik Spoelstra said and the official Miami Heat twitter account announced. Udonis Haslem and Shane Battier will start (along with Mario Chalmers, Dwyane Wade and LeBron James).

What I take away from all this — Bosh isn’t healthy yet. That was clear at points the way he was involved in some plays in Game 5, although he certainly gave them a real lift at points on the boards and with the threat of his shot. If this were anything but a key Game 6 of the Eastern Conference finals he’d be sitting, resting. But the Heat need everything they have for this game, down 3-2 there is no margin for error.

We’ll see what Bosh can give. Just not when the game tips off.