Tag: Celtics Heat

Boston Celtics head coach Doc Rivers gestures to Rajon Rondo in the second quarter as the Celtics play the Miami Heat during Game 5 of their Eastern Conference Finals NBA basketball playoffs in Miami, Florida

Video: Spoelstra, Bosh, Rondo talk Boston Game 5 win

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Above you see some highlights of the post-game press conferences in Miami after Boston came in and stole Game 5, taking a 3-2 series lead (with the chance to close it out at home Thursday).

Erik Spoelstra used a lot of vague coach speak and sounded more like a motivational speaker than a anything else. Chris Bosh got more time at the podium than he did on the court — Spoeltra needs more Bosh in Game 6, not less.

Rivers and Rondo talked about what we all saw — the focus on the team, about them grinding out and staying in it when the Heat were hot, giving themselves a chance. They dealt with adversity, Miami wilted when faced with it.

Quote of the day: Wow, LeBron just does not get it

Boston Celtics v Miami Heat - Game Five

“We played good enough to give ourselves a chance to win. That’s all you can ask for.”

—LeBron James, following the Heat’s Game 5 loss to Boston. Via Adrain Wojnarowski of Yahoo.

That pretty much sums up the mental difference in this series — Kevin Garnett or Rajon Rondo or no other Celtic would ever say that. Because it’s not all you can ask for, it’s not all LeBron or Miami should ask for. Winning is all you can ask for. Execution at the end of games rather than standing on the perimeter as a decoy is another thing we can ask for.

As Wojnarowski notes in his article there still seems to be a sense around the Heat that they thought this would be easier, that their adversities would melt away and they could claim their rings. That’s not how it works. You have to become better, you have to reach new levels, you have to strive to overcome to reach your goals. Obstacles do not melt away. You have to overcome them.

You have to think that giving yourself a chance to win is not all you can ask for.

At least one kid thought Miami gave “good effort, good job”

Boston Celtics v Miami Heat - Game Five

It’s good to know that while the rest of us will spend the day killing the Heat for their effort and the job they put forth Tuesday night there is one young fan that believes they did their best.

He was the lone voice of support as LeBron James, Shane Battier and DNP-CD Ronny Turiaf left the court following their devastating Game 5 loss at home. Watch the video.

“Good effort, good job. Good job, good effort.” All said with encouraging claps.

It’s heartening to know that the lessons of U8 soccer — that it’s about having fun, trying hard, and having orange slices and juice boxes after the game — have stuck with this kid.

He’s young, no need to tell him yet that this is a results-based world where losing at home when you are the team with more raw talent is seen as a failure. That the Heat’s collapse has the feel of doom through hubris that fueled many a Greek tragedy. That can all be for another day. He’s got a whole life ahead to learn those lessons. For now…

“Good effort, good job. Good job, good effort.”

Hat tip to Eye on Basketball for the video.

Kevin Garnett remains beating heart of these Celtics

Kevin Garnett

At age 36, Kevin Garnett has been the most important player in the Eastern Conference finals.

Because of his play, the Boston Celtics knocked off Miami 94-90 in Game 5 and are on the doorstep of returning to the NBA finals for the third time in five years. Because of him the team that everyone called too old — a team GM Danny Ainge discussed breaking up at the trade deadline — is one win away from a shot at another ring.

“He’s just amazing,” Boston coach Doc Rivers said, via A. Sherrod Blakely of CSNNE.com. “Obviously we need his scoring. That’s important, but he just … he’s our life. I mean, he really is. He just does so many things that don’t have numbers to it. A lot of it is his voice. He’s in a strange way a calming effect on some of our guys, if you can ever call Kevin that, he is. He’s just been terrific for us.”

Garnett has done it at both ends of the floor. He finished the game a +4 in a four point win.

The Celtics start with defense and KG has been the beating heart of that for Boston his series — when he is on the floor their defense has forced the Heat to take jump shots (which they have often missed). When he is resting it is a layup parade for Dwyane Wade and LeBron James. The difference is stark.

At the other end, starting in the second quarter Boston was able to establish him in the post and Miami doesn’t have an answer for him, especially since he can also pop out and knock down a midrange shot. Garnett had a team high 26 points in the Game 5 win.

For KG, the two ends of the floor are not separate, one can flow out of the other. Again from CSNNE.com.

“I let a lot of the offense come to me,” said Garnett, who also had 11 rebounds and 2 blocked shots. “I look at myself as a defensive player first. I thought some of the defensive plays I was able to make fueled me into getting some easy baskets.”

Closeout games are hard, nobody knows that better than Garnett and these Celtics. But thanks to Garnett they get a chance to do it at home, in front of a home crowd that truly lifts them to another level. A place where their role players feel more comfortable and are able to make plays.

But in the end, it will come down to Kevin Garnett if Boston is to win. He is their beating heart.

Miami’s next step: Figure out how to be a team

Boston Celtics v Miami Heat - Game Five

With the game and maybe the season on the line, the Miami Heat were what they have been since October of 2010 — individuals.

Dwyane Wade was the guy with the ball, standing out top and attacking off the dribble trying to find a seam to slice through. LeBron James was in the corner, motionless, a decoy. He was tired from having carried the team the first 40 minutes and it showed in his lack of movement. Chris Bosh was sitting on the bench because coach Erik Spoelstra “didn’t think it would be fair” to him to be out there in his first game back.

It didn’t work. Again.

For the second straight year the vaunted Miami Heat are about to be eliminated by a team — not a more talented group of individuals, but a group that is more than the sum of its parts because they play as a unit. They trust each other on defense, they make the extra pass on offense. Boston is the definition of team.

Miami has never been more than just its parts. Not for a consistent stretch anyway.

And that’s what the Heat have to figure out. It may well not be possible to do that before Game 6 in Boston. It is something they have to figure out this summer.

How? That’s the multi-million dollar question.

• Does Miami need a new coach? After the game, Spoelstra was sounding like a hollow motivational speaker with the kind of rhetoric he brings into the locker room.

“(We must) fight any kind of noise from the outside or any human condition, and to collectively come together strong to prepare for the next game,” Spoelstra said.

With the expensive talent on this roster his seat is permanently warm. Thing is, the players have bonded with Spoelstra and I don’t know that a coaching change really solves the problem. First off, late in the game Wade was not hustling back on defense and leaving his teammates exposed — some want to blame Spoelstra for a lack of motivation here, but that misses the point. If Wade is not hustling near the end of Game 5 of the Eastern Conference finals it’s not the coach’s job to motivate him — that’s all on Wade.

Also, who are you going to get that’s that much better? Pat Riley doesn’t want to return to the bench. He’s not about to bring in the ego of Phil Jackson to battle for control of the organization’s soul. Pretty sure Riley isn’t going to re-hire Stan Van Gundy. Do you really want to commit to Mike D’Antoni’s seven seconds or less? Spoelstra is not a bad coach and if you fire him you need to have someone better in the wings.

• Bring in more talent? Much easier said than done because the roster you have is already well over the salary cap and luxury tax thresholds for next year. The big three alone account for $52 million, the rest of the roster commitments bring the Heat to $78 million for next season already on the books. They have the mini-midlevel exception of $3 million — you think that is going to lure Steve Nash? After that it’s just veteran minimum deals. And making a trade isn’t going to be easy — who on this roster do you really want after the big three? You’re not getting much for them. Basically the Heat can keep adding some veterans willing to play for less like Shane Battier and Mike Miller, but that’s it.

• Break up the big three. Is two years enough time to decide that the experiment has failed in this form? I’m far from sold Pat Riley is ready to give up on this yet. And even if he is, trading a superstar — whichever one of Bosh, LeBron or Wade you decide to move — never brings back equal talent.

There are no easy answers. Maybe the best answer is for Wade, LeBron and Bosh to internalize the lessons that Dallas and Boston have taught them and make the sacrifices they need to themselves to become a better team.

But clearly, they are not there yet.