Without being able to contain Rajon Rondo the Heat still found a way to win game 2. Rondo scored a career high 44 points that went along with his 10 assists and 8 boards. Even with Rondo’s herculean effort, Lebron James and crew found a way to overcome a 7 point deficit to start the 2nd half, defeating Boston 115-111. With the victory Miami takes a 2-0 lead in the 2012 Eastern Conference Finals.
Give Me Some Rondo
This is a Miami Heat recap of game 2. But I would be a poor excuse for a SCIC staff member if I didn’t mention Rondo’s historic game. Just days after I wrote a glowing article about him, Rondo went bananas. His stat-line looked like it would normally belong to Lebron James, 44-10-8. The knock on Rondo is his ability to knock down a jump shot. 16 for 24 from the field, 2 for 2 from beyond the arc, Rondo played the best basketball of his life and showing the Heat they better start to respect his jumper. Or at least pretend they do.
I don’t want to go to crazy praising Rondo here. This is a Miami Heat recap. I just wanted to leave you with one more Rajon nugget. Rondo played all 53 minutes of this game. He was also guarded by every single Heat player dressed. I don’t doubt he will get the praise he deserves after this game. But, and this isn’t an “in the moment” moment, this will go down as one of the Celtics’ greatest playoff performances ever. Especially in a Boston loss. I admit my Rondo bias…Now you admit he is the best point guard in the NBA.
Miami magically won game 2. They were outplayed the vast majority of it. Outside the 3rd period and OT Miami was outscored every other quarter. So when the game was all tied up at the end of regulation, Miami must have looked at this as their 2nd chance. So what does the Heat do better than anyone else? Miss free throws in key moments of a game. To start OT, Lebron missed the first 2 free throw attempts. Followed by a ill-fated Dwyane Wade attempt at a 3 point play following an amazing dunk. For the game itself Miami shot 31 of 47 from the charity stripe. That’s 16 extra points the Heat left on the floor.
Lebron Can’t Close But He Can Open
Lebron missed an attempted game winning jumper at the end of regulation. He didn’t exactly set the world on fire in overtime either. He did have 34-10-7 for the game. Without everything James contributed Miami wouldn’t have been competitive Wednesday night. His running mate, Dwyane Wade, had the most glorious 2 points in the 1st half. It also happened to be the only 2 points he scored in the first 24 minutes of the ball game. If Lebron and Mario Chalmers(22-6-4) were not carrying this team on their backs in the first half, Wade wouldn’t have had the convenience of waiting till the 2nd half for his offensive game to arrive.
It Rained 3’s
The Heat went 10 for 26 from 3 as a team. That doesn’t seem like a ton of 3 point attempts or makes but it sure felt like it. While Rondo and Boston were completely in control during the 1st half, it was Miami’s ability to knock down some timely 3 pointers from keeping this game away from blow-out mode. It’s also the only offense they ask for from their role players. Miami needs to make 8 or more 3 pointers going forward or they won’t be able to compete. We all saw what happens if 1 of their big 2 is off during the 1st half. So relying on the deep ball is something they will have to do.
The Answer To Rondo?
I promise, this is not an excuse to sing Rondo’s praises again. Miami needs to find a way to stop Rondo. Chalmers and Wade clearly can’t cover him, at least not alone. There also is the conundrum of putting Lebron on him. Surely LBJ could slow him down. But at the same time it would definitely hamper Lebron’s offensive game. Spot duty with Lebron on Rajon is fine just not in heavy doses. Switching on the pick and rolls didn’t seem to work either. In OT Haslem kept switching on the pick, leaving him alone to guard Rondo to mixed results.
Rondo is not the kind of jump shooter we saw in action tonight. He is everything else you saw. Just not that kind of shooter. Heat coach Erick Spoelstra shouldn’t deviate from his game plan. Look for Miami to continue to play off Rondo leaving him space for uncontested mid-range jump shots. Do look for them to adjust more quickly going forward if he starts to hit on them early. Game 2 saw them wait far to long before putting an honest hand in Rondo’s face. It almost bit them in the rear-end. I don’t expect the adjustments to take 4 quarters in game 3.
Lebron James: B+
I wanted badly to give him an A. Except you can’t essentially disappear during key moments in a playoff game and get that grade. I already made my case why people should lay off him. Here is why they shouldn’t. Lebron is clearly the most athletic man on the court during these games. So why is it that he is settling for so many long range shots instead of driving to the basket?
Dwyane Wade: B-
I badly wanted to give him a flat C. But he was to good in the 4th and overtime periods to grade him that low. Miami can’t afford to have him no show in the 1st half anymore though.
Mario Chamlers: B-
You can’t completely blame Mario for Rondo going off. He is the easy scapegoat for Rondo’s game but he shared guarding duties with the rest of the Miami Heat. What he did do was carry the offensive load for the Heat. Chalmers shot 50% from the floor adding up to 22 points. His offensive proved vital in game 2.
Shane Battier: B-
I watched the whole game and forgot he played until I just looked up the box score. It says he had 9 points, I vaguely remember a 3 pointer. Well I am sure it was a 3, that’s all he shoots anymore(That was all sarcasm, just in case you couldn’t tell). Although his defense couldn’t have been great because Pierce had a good game.
Bigs & Bench: C+
They can thank Udonis Haslem for helping getting this grade so high. Haslem was a key player going down the stretch of this game. With him hitting some jumpers late we could be looking at a different outcome. 4 other Heat players came off the bench for game 2. Only Mike Miller had any kind of impact with 7 points, it also took him 7 shots to get it.
Game 3 will be played at the TD Garden in Boston. Friday 830pm on ESPN. After the game come back for me and Jason Leung’s recaps of the game. He will be covering the Celtics as I will be doing the Heat.
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