Tag: Miami Boston

Ray Allen

What ankle problems? Ray Allen plays 46 minutes, looks good


At the start of the Eastern Conference finals, Ray Allen was moving around the court like Betty White. Battling bone spurs in his ankles, he wasn’t moving crisply to get open and when he did get a look there was no lift in his legs and shots clanged off the rim. He was even missing free throws. And Ray Allen doesn’t miss free throws.

But it’s not like that any more.

Allen wasn’t exactly his old self — he was 6-of-16 from the field in Game 4 — but he is a threat again, playing more than 46 minutes, moving well off the ball and scoring 16 points as part of the Celtics dramatic win.

“Just going into the game, starting the game, having my legs underneath me is for me it’s a huge deal now,” Allen said at his post-game press conference.

He had a couple key threes and has again attracted the focus on the Heat defense, spreading them out. It has been one of the keys to the Celtics tying the series up 2-2.

This doesn’t mean the problem is gone for the free agent to be. A. Sherrod Blakely of CSNNE.com has this quote from Allen.

“At my lowest point, I was ready to have surgery,” Allen said. “I didn’t think that I would get any better, because I was doing all the things I needed to do, treatment-wise, and just staying off of it. It didn’t seem like it was going to get any better…

“It just progressively got better over time,” Allen said. “We’ll see how I deal with it once the season is over.”

Report: Heat to activate Chris Bosh for Game 5

Miami Heat forward Bosh stands near bench during Eastern Conference Finals NBA basketball playoffs in Miami

Miami has sorely missed Chris Bosh. They could use his size on defense to create problems for Kevin Garnett. Their pick-and-roll desperately misses him because right now nobody respects the pick setter, everyone can focus on Dwyane Wade or LeBron James.

But Miami may not have to wait much longer.

There is a report that Bosh is expected to suit up Tuesday in Miami, from Brian Windhost of ESPN:

According to multiple sources, the Heat are hoping to activate Chris Bosh for Tuesday’s Game 5 if he doesn’t suffer a setback in workouts over the next two days. Bosh declined to discuss his status following the Heat’s 93-91 overtime loss to the Boston Celtics on Sunday, which tied the series at 2-2.

Don’t expect the Heat to confirm this, they will not say a thing until just before Game 5. Bosh was has been out with a strained abdominal since May 13. He has been working out with team trainers and assistant coaches but has not yet been cleared to play and he has not even practiced with the team.

This will be a huge boost for the Heat, who now find themselves tied with the Celtics. Will re-integrating Bosh into the lineup slow the Heat for a while? How will he perform after the time off?

Lots of questions, but the bottom line is the Heat are just better with him on the court.

Celtics-Heat Game 4: Boston out executes Heat, evens series 2-2

Miami Heat v Boston Celtics - Game Four

Boston owned the first half with a sharp offense.

Miami played defense for the first time since their plane landed in Boston in the second half and tied it up.

But with everything on the line at the end of the game and in overtime it came down to execution, and the veteran Celtics were better at it. Not a lot — it was 4-2 in overtime. It was grinding, not pretty. But that counts just the same. Boston won 93-91 and the Eastern Conference finals are tied 2-2 heading back to Miami.

Boston won this with one half of hot offense and four quarters and an overtime of defense. What they have done amazingly well is cut off the transition points of Miami — they have taken away the easy, showtime buckets that fuel the Heat. Old legs? Not even close. Boston has looked more spry the last two games.

That started from the opening minutes of Game 5. Boston walked on the court attacking, Rajon Rondo was getting the lane, carving up the Heat defense with passes and shots. He has been amazing this series, and he finished this game with 15 points and 15 assists. Boston went on 10-0 run early and that had team up 14. Boston got a dozen first quarter points from Paul Pierce, shot 59 percent and put 34 points up in the first 12 minutes. Boston had seven three pointers in the first half. That carried through the half as Boston was up 14 and had 61 points at the break.

Then Miami started playing intense defense in the second half, particularly trapping Rondo and taking the ball out of his hands. Behind that the Heat’s rotations were sharper and they started to challenge whoever had the ball. Miami played far more physical ball. Boston scored just 12 points in the third quarter. Boston had 16 in the fourth.

Miami also started to really take advantage of every time Kevin Garnett sat down. They attacked and without KG’s defensive leadership out there Boston could not stop LeBron James (29 points) or the Heat from getting to the rim.

But what Boston did late was make stops and one more shot — this game was tied 81-81 with five minutes remaining in regulation. Both teams were pushing, clawing and getting fouls. Some interesting fouls. Some questionable fouls. Both Pierce and LeBron fouled out in overtime and there were questionable calls all night both ways.

In the end, Boston played good defense and made one more shot.

Miami had its looks. But with the final shot in regulation and overtime Miami didn’t execute as well as the Boston defense.

In regulation what coach Eric Spoelstra drew up… well he said after the game it fell apart, what it became was a LeBron James isolation where when the triple-team came he tried to pass out of it and… it was just not good.

“It was another multi-layer thing to try to get LeBron on the run,” Spoelstra said. “The play broke down a little bit, so he had to put the ball on the floor and make a play. He had the right idea. I think (Haslem) was open for a count there in the corner. But you have to pass over a 7-foot-6 guy, so it wasn’t really a clean pass.”

Then at the end of overtime, with 14 seconds to go and Miami down 2, the Heat actually ran a play to get a switch so Marquis Daniels was on Wade, which led to a clean look at a step back three as time ran out. Clean but not a good shot. Thing is, Wade shot 26.8 percent from three this season, 27.8 percent in the playoffs. Him taking a twisting three is not good execution, it is not high percentage shot. And if you go earlier you might get an offensive rebound. Miami executed neither.

And so the series is tied 2-2. Game 5 is going to be when the Heat figure out how to take a step forward or they will fall short — Boston is a veteran team they are going to defend, they are going to execute. Just like they did in Game 3 and 4.

If Chris Bosh is back in the lineup can Miami execute better? Either way they had better. The playoffs are about growth and if Miami doesn’t do it before Game 5 this series could end quickly.

Video: Kevin Garnett’s “Army/Navy style” knuckle pushups

Miami Heat v Boston Celtics - Game Three

I’m not sure that pushup form would have been approved my Mr. Loveless, my freshman PE teacher, but it worked for Kevin Garnett. And the Celtics players and fans ate it up.

KG brought real energy in the paint, he brought the early post position (and great finishes off impressive passes from Rajon Rondo when Garnett was fronted), he brought the defensive presence. With that comes all the other Garnett things — the trash talk, some elbows that lead to technicals, some colorful language in his postgame interview. And now knuckle pushups.

But the Celtics will take all that to get the energy again in Game 4. Because they are going to need that and more against a Heat team that will play like the one from the fourth quarter, not the first three.

Miami flips the switch to off for Game 3, can they turn it back on?

Miami Heat v Boston Celtics - Game Three

Let’s give all due credit to the Boston Celtics — staring in the face of a must win night they brought it like you expect of a veteran, battle-tested team. Kevin Garnett was fantastic in the paint, Rajon Rondo controlled the flow. Their defensive intensity was stepped up. Boston won 101-91.

But this was another one of those nights where the Heat looked like the Cavaliers. There was a whole lot of LeBron James — 34 points and 8 rebounds — and nothing else. The rest of the Heat must have missed the flight.

And so Game 4 becomes a real test for the Heat. They have played these playoffs like a team that thinks it can just flip the switch. So far they have. But it’s a dangerous game because some day the power is not coming back on.

Can Miami get back to being a two-headed monster with Dwyane Wade and LeBron both attacking and aggressive? Because when they do that the role players — Udonis Haslem, Mario Chalmers, et al — find their comfort level as well. Like we saw Mike Miller do in the fourth quarter.

Wade is the real key here — he looked like the guy from before he had his knee drained, the guy from Game 2 of the Pacers series. Wade had no free throws in this game. He didn’t attack and get to the line once. Miami needs the aggressive Wade back.

If he shows up and if the Heat can beat a rejuvenated Celtics in Game 4 there is a lesson to be learned — the Heat can’t do this anymore if they want a ring. Not against a resilient Celtics squad that they have given new hope to; and especially not against the Spurs or the Thunder next round. There the Heat are the underdogs and there is a very small margin for error. They can’t take another night off.

Miami was pretty much terrible all the way around the block from the end of the first quarter on. They got outrun in transition by the old legs of the Celtics. Their defensive rotations fluctuated between slow and nonexistent. They kept switching on picks then the Celtics would expose the mismatch. Rondo came off those picks and there was nobody between him and the basket.

You run off your defense — there are no easy buckets or impressive alley-oops for Miami if they keep taking the ball out of the basket. Meanwhile in Game 3 the Celtics ran a lot, because they were getting stops.

Miami needs to flip the switch back to on for both Wade and their defense it before the next game. Boston is a team with confidence now, they are champions playing with desperation, they will be a tough out.

And Miami had better leave the switch on for the rest of the playoffs because if it gets switched to off for another game — this series or the next — they will find the power is not going to come back on.