Still Bosh-less, the Miami Heat’s “Big 2″ got a little help from their friends in Game 1. Led by Lebron James’ 32 points to go along with Dwayne Wade’s 22, the Heat defeated the Celtics 93-79 Monday night. Taking the 1st game of Eastern Conference Finals. Mike Miller and Shane Battier both put in solid performances, combining for 18 points and connecting on 4 shots beyond the arc.
Bad Offense Say Hello To A Good Defense
Outside of the 2nd quarter in which Boston scored 35 points, the aging team never scored more than 18 in a quarter. That is who they are, shooting a whopping 39.5% from the floor and a devastating 28.6% from 3. They have struggled offensively all season. If you were one of the poor souls who had to watch their series with Philly, you understand even further what I mean. Sometimes it looks like they are playing with a rock instead of a basketball.
So when a team who has a hard time finding itself on offense gets matched up with Miami, who is terrific defensively, even worse offense happens. Miami had Lebron guard every one of the Celtics’ stars. Garnett, Pierce, and even in some spots Rondo. Lebron was sent to shut them down. James defense on Pierce was exceptional. Paul was 5 for 18 from the field and trying very hard for those 5 buckets. He was forcing up runners and contested lay-ups throughout the night. Even the baskets he made were extremely difficult. Only Garnett seemed to have any success against the Miami D, scoring 23 points. The Chalmers/Rondo match-up was the most worrisome for the Heat. And while Rondo’s stat sheet was his usual 16-9-7, he never actually seemed to be a factor in this game except in the 2nd quarter. The scoreboard said one thing, however this game felt out of reach early in the 3rd period.
Hey Ref, Nobody Paid To See You
I don’t believe in NBA conspiracies. What I do believe in is bad officiating. Kevin Garnett got T’ed up for tipping the ball after a made shot. This was moments after being warned for a delay of game. I understand it’s a rule. This is also the Eastern Conference Finals, let them play. Doc Rivers also got 1 for himself. While watching the game it looked like he said “Hey there” or something to that effect. I guess in a tight game in the 2nd quarter it warrants a technical foul. Rondo followed that up with a frustration moment by shoving Shane Battier after a basket.
The NBA will need to step in here. This isn’t game 3 of the North Dakota Youth Division Ages 6-9 Championship. These are professional basketball players…..who also happen to be grown men. Was the delay of game warning needed? Yes, it happens every game. Was the technical that followed because of Garnett tipping the ball needed? No, it actually looked like an accident. For the Doc Rivers situation, I don’t know what to say. After the game he said that his was not warranted. By looking over the tape 20 times I believe him. Unless he was ripping that referee for some time we don’t know about, that call was a joke.
Eastern Conference Finals. Pierce, Rondo, Garnett, James, and Wade. You know who these people are. Can you name the 3 officials from last night? No, because not a soul on this planet(except their relatives, MAYBE) paid to watch them officiate. They came, watched, and paid to see the best in the world go at it and decide the outcome on the court. Stern will not comment on the matter or offer an apology. But NBA take note, this looked really bad.
Morning After Thoughts
I expected Miami to win this series. I also thought it would go 6 or 7. I’m not taking anything away from this game other than Boston needs to figure out their offense. The Heat did everything they were supposed to do and than some. If Doc Rivers and his staff don’t come up with something this series can end quick. The talent on Boston tells me they will. Boston will need to keep the scores in the 80s if they want to compete and I think they can. While Miller and Battier have been putting up solid performances the last few games, the 2 of them are not very consistent.
Going forward I expect Lebron and Wade to continue to carry the workload while hoping for some help from their role-players. Game 1 was a blueprint to victory for every game in this series. I just don’t know if they can keep relying on Mike Miller and his decaying corpse to keep defying logic by putting up solid performances. The Heat know what they will get from Wade and Lebron, it’s Miller and Battier they need to focus on. Boston should do the same and try to take those 2 out of their rhythm early. If you take those 2 guys out, not Lebron and Wade, the Celtics can steal a game here and there.
Lebron James: A
They got exactly what they needed out of him. Aggressive on offense very early,doing a lot of his damage in the 1st and 3rd quarters. Boston has no match for James. Unfortunately for them, he can match-up with everyone on their roster.
Dwayne Wade: B-
Wade started off a little slow. But it’s okay when Lebron has a monster game like he did Monday night. 22 points on 8 for 13 shooting to go along with his 7 assists. That’s a good night for anybody. The only reason he did not get an “A” was his 4 turnovers.
Mario Chalmers: C+
Mario played pretty well. What’s keeping his grade down is the 0 for life from 3 point land. If any of these games are to be close they will need Chalmers to help with the spacing of the court by nailing open 3’s.
Shane Battier: B
He is what he is at this point. I mean that in the most complimentary way possible. 10 points and 10 boards to go with above-average defense. If the Heat can get this out of him every night they will be fine.
All Heat Big Men: C+
Their power forward and center positions are played by committee. So we are going to grade them as such. Solid night by the bigs, nothing spectacular. They were good enough and that’s all Miami is hoping for.
Mike Miller: B+
Miller had 8 points on only 5 shot attempts. The reason for the “B+” is his toughness. If you take him or Battier out of this line-up the Heat would be in trouble. And Mike Miller is banged up. He is constantly getting stretched out on the sidelines. He is likely playing at 70%. But a 70% Miller is way better than a 100% Terrel Harris. See why he gets the grade.
As usual make sure you come to SCIC after game 2 for recaps of the night’s action. I will be sharing coverage of this series with Jason Leung. We shared the previous Heat/Pacers series. He is a talented fella who will be covering the Celtics POV, so make sure you check him out. Also check out the rest of the SCIC staff who are covering the Western Conference Finals (John Armstrong & Mike Owens) as well as breaking down every team’s off-season needs (Chris Walder).
Game 2 will be played Wednesday on ESPN at 8:30pm.
Joseph Nardone is a Writer/Blogger for Sir Charles In Charge. He is also a
loyalist apologist for Rajon Rondo. You can follow him on the twitter machine @JosephNardone