Celtics/Heat Game 4 Recap
Dwyane Wade’s hot hand delivers a legendary performance.
by Sam Guelil
How much basketball left in the season for the Miami Heat is an uncertainty. One thing is certain though: There won’t be another game to play if they don’t win today. It’s win or stay home for the Heat as the Boston Celtics come into Sunday’s action up 3-0. No team in the history of the NBA has ever came back and won a series down three games. It is indeed a daunting task, but Miami can’t win four games in one day. They have to approach it with that old cliché and take it one game at a time and just focus on the task at hand. Today’s task is winning Game 4 and extending the series.
For Boston, they are coming off a thrilling Friday night victory which was capped off by Paul Pierce’s shot to beat the buzzer. The Cs would like nothing more than to sweep and close Miami out today so they can give the veterans on this team some additional rest.
There is one deafening thought on the minds of Heat fans, players, coaches, management, security, etc.: Will this be Dwyane Wade’s final game as a member of the Miami Heat? Even if they win today, the Celtics could close the series out in Boston. Heat fans may never see the greatest player in the franchise’s history again play in South Beach wearing the home white jersey. As we all know, Wade contract is up at the end of this season and he’ll be free to choose where he wants to call home when July 1 comes rolling around. Will he stay in Miami, bolt to New York, or maybe even join his hometown Chicago Bulls? These are all valid questions and concerns. But we’ll approach this issue as Wade has throughout the entire season. Talk about this game and worry about free agency when the season is over. Let’s get into this Game 4…
We are in the building people. Its 90 minutes before tip time and we see ABC/ESPN’s Marc Jackson chatting it up with Boston Celtic Brian “Veal” Scalabrine, who is once again an inactive for this one.
Celtic President of Basketball Operations/GM Danny Ainge is sitting courtside watching his guys shoot around.
“Veal” starts to run up and down full court with Sheldon Williams as Paul Pierce and Rajon Rondo watch.
Boston’s strength and conditioning coach Bryan Doo is working with Marquis Daniels on some agility drills. Nate Robinson, who can’t ever stay still, hops in the workout. The two players start working with resistance bands after their done working with the ladder.
On the other side of the court, Miami’s Mario Chalmers and Daequan Cook are putting up a ton of shots.
Michael Beasley is shooting free throws in between watching highlights on the jumbotron of teammate Carlos Arroyo.
It’s about an hour from game-time and Rondo and Pierce are now on the court working on elbow jumpers.
We now have some one-on-one action going on. “Veal” is trying to defend Rondo as they work on perimeter moves. On the left side, Sheldon Williams is going against Glen Davis, aka “Big Baby,” aka “The Ticket Stub.” The two are defending each other working on some high and low post action.
Rasheed Wallace is now out on the court rocking some island hopper Celtic sweats. He must have cut them to this desired length because I can’t imagine anyone selling these. I guess since Manny Ramirez is no longer in Boston that’s just Sheed being Sheed.
“Veal” Scalabrine comes over to Danny Ainge to say what’s up. He high five’s Ainge and asks him if he’s ready. Ainge responds by sarcastically asking him if he can guard Rondo. That was pretty funny.
With 45 minutes until the start of Game 4 it’s time to go get my eat on. I’m not really feeling the 1 p.m. start time. Today we have eggs, bacon, sausage, bagels and cereal. The eggs were as runny as the Heat defense in Game 2. Nevertheless, I’m here for basketball, not cereal.
The introductions of today’s starting lineups have been made. Metallica’s “Wherever I may Rome” is blasting. The building doesn’t look sold out, but thanks to the added help of these clapping noise makers, it’s a pretty electric atmosphere here in AmericanAirlines Arena.
Dolphins head coach Tony Sparano is in the house. Also on hand is singer Gloria Estefan and rapper Common. They’re all ready, DWade is ready, and you know I’m ready so…Let’s Get It!
Quentin Richardson hits a three from the left wing for the Heats first bucket. Then Q hits again from the exact same spot on the floor.
A late goaltending call on KG has Celtics coach Doc Rivers up off the bench early.
This crowd goes bonkers after a nice baseline drive by Michael Beasley that he emphatically throws down with his left hand. This is a small sample of what this man can do when he’s focused. He looks like he is early on this afternoon. Doc Rivers is forced to call a full timeout with 7:53 left in the opening quarter and the Heat out to a 12-2 lead.
Paul Pierce hits a 3 from the left corner and immediately turns and barks a little to the fans behind him.
Wade throws up an off-balanced runner with one hand and gets it to go while drawing the foul. Wade hits the free throw and completes the 3 point play, putting the Heat up 20-14.
Wade then takes a pick-6 the length of the court and throws it down hard with two hands.
Q hits a 14 footer as Pierce fouls him. Pierce has some words for Q while he’s at the line. Richardson keeps his head down and isn’t trying to let “The Truth” get inside his head.
Mario Chalmers steals a pass from Glen Davis. He throws a lead pass up ahead to Wade for a two-handed reverse jam that was better than almost anything we saw in this year’s Dunk Contest. 26-14 Heat with 2:48 left in the first.
Udonis Haslem grabs a board off a Rondo missed lay-up and throws an outlet pass to Wade. Wade then uses a great Euro step move drawing a hoop and some harm on a defenseless Michael Finley.
Rajon Rondo beats the first quarter buzzer as he converts an outstanding spins move going thru Heat defenders.
Wade 14 points
Richardson 13 points
Pierce 6 points
Rondo 5 points
Chalmers is giving the Heat some nice minutes and finishes in traffic.
Nate Robinson has checked into the game.
The Heat leads 38-24 with 8:39 to go.
Beasley is playing with a lot of fire and confidence as he rips up the “Ticket Stub” on his way to the bucket. Beasley then catches a one-handed ally-oop from Mario Chalmers. This man clearly doesn’t want the season to end…or maybe he doesn’t want to get traded and is showing Pat Riley and Heat fans to have faith in him.
With 5:46 left in the half and the Heat leading 43-29, Joel Anthony commits his second foul and Miami is the penalty.
I’m going to start calling Rondo “Mr. Fantastic.” He just converted in traffic and seems to always be able to stretch and extend his arms just far enough to score in transition.
Pierce picks up his third foul and gets showered with boos as he heads to the bench. That’s a clear sign of respect. To quote Barry Bonds, “They don’t boo you if you’re bad.”
Miami calls a timeout with 4:56 to go until halftime leading by the score of 43-34. Boston is chipping away at this Miami Heat lead.
On his way to rack, Rondo got fouled and seemed to bang his head on his fall to the floor. He was down for a few minutes. He did still manage to make the basket. People can say whatever they want about Garnett, but if I was a player, I would want him on my team. He always does a Usain Bolt on his way over to help any teammate on the ground. As a matter a fact, this whole Celtic team has been doing this all series long.
Miami has turned the ball over to many times, allowing Boston extra possessions. The Celtics currently have a 19-7 advantage on points off turnovers.
In what was once a rawkus home crowd, a lot of their energy has evaporated, just like Miami’s double digit lead.
Wade 16 points
Richardson 13 points
Beasley 11 points
Garnett 10 points
Rondo 9 points
Pierce 7 points
Double Technical’s are called on Rondo and Arroyo within the first 3 minutes of the third.
Celtics continue their solid D as they force Miami into a 24 second violation.
Wade came out strong to start the half. He just pulled up with a baseline jumper leaving Paul Pierce behind.
I officially feel bad for Jermaine O’Neal. He just got bailed out by a Kendrick Perkins foul, went to the line where he missed both free throws, then committed a foul on the other end. J.O. is having a nightmare series.
After another great pass in transition from Rondo to KG, Miami is forced to call timeout at the 5:01 mark with the score 62-59 Heat. I’ve been hearing the theme from Jaws in my head for a little while now. The shark-like Celtics have been smelling blood since the middle of the second.
Ray Allen hits a 3 to tie it at 62.
Big-time play at the 3:20 mark! Wade drives right down the lane and catches Garnett. KG was caught in mid-air unsure if he wanted to let the play go or possibly be on a new DWade poster.
A great bounce pass from Rondo who finds a trailing Ray Allen in transition makes the score 68-64 Boston. Timout Miami with 2:45 left in the third quarter.
A 3-point bomb from Pierce answers Wade’s. “The Truth” continues to throw daggers in the hearts of Heat players, coaches, and fans.
Rondo 20 points
Pierce 16 points
Garnett 16 points
Wade 27 points
Richardson 18 points
In what could be his last quarter as a Heat player, Wade comes out and scores the first 5 points of the fourth. I wouldn’t be looking to pass that much if I were him. If you have to go out, might as well go out guns a blazing!
Uh oh! Two more 3s from Wade has this house really rocking. Wade does a little dance on his way down the court and seems to be talking to his hand. The Celtics can’t understand, and Rivers is forced to call timeout with the score now 85-80 Miami with 9:13 left. This is something special we have going on here as Wade is up to 38 points. This is one bad dude!
Wade then gets Allen up in the air and draws a foul while shooting from downtown. He makes all 3 free throws and he’s up to 41 points.
In what is turning out to be one of best individual performances in Heat Playoff history, Wade hits again from downtown. That’s 44 points kids and the score is now 93-82 with 5:48 left to play.
Rondo uncharacteristically knocks in a huge 3 from the left wing to make it an 8 point deficit. The Celtics really needed that.
The Celtics are now double teaming Wade when he crosses half-court with the ball.
Miami calls a timeout after a Ray Allen 3 from straight-away. The score is now 96-88 Miami with 3:49 to play.
The crowd is now chanting “Let’s Go Heat” while they clap those funny noise maker thing, This crowd is going bananas coming out of the timeout.
Michael Finely bangs a big 3 and the Heat lead is down to 5.
In unusual fashion, Ray Allen goes 1-4 from the line on Boston’s next two trips.
Timeout Heat with the score 96-92 Miami and 1:46 left.
Beasley bails out Dorell Wright after catching his air-ball shot attempt. Miami up 6 with 1:27 left.
Then KG goes 0-2 from the line and Boston is leaving too many points at the charity strip.
Pierce’s 3-point attempt from the wing is no good and the Heat are out and running. Wade gets hacked on his way to the rack and goes 1-2 from the line. It’s now 99-92 Miami with 33.7 left in game, timeout Celtics.
Out of the timout, Boston runs a baseline screen for Ray Allen which is no good. Boston fouls Q who calmly knocks both down free throws.
It’s a wrap…Final Score: 101-92 Miami wins
Wade 46 points, 5 assists, 5 rebounds
Richardson 20 points, 7 rebounds
Beasley 15 points, 5 rebounds
Rondo 23 points, 9 assists, 4 rebounds
Garnett 18 points, 12 rebounds
Pierce 16 points, 4 assists, 4 rebounds
Allen 15 points, 3 assists
RECAPPING THE RECAP
This was clearly the Dwyane Wade show today. He dropped 46 total points and had 19 in the fourth quarter. He made all 4 of his 3-point attempts in the last session. It was clear that this man wasn’t going to let his team lose today. After the game Wade said he told his hand he was hot.
Wade’s mother Jolinda was in town visiting from Chicago. They say momma always knows best. Well today momma saw best. Wade’s 46 points set the franchise-record for points in a Playoff game.
Wade got some help early from Quentin Richardson. Q left the game in the second half with a bruised left hand. After the game, while wearing a splint on that left hand, Q said he would definitely play in Game 5.
Free throw shooting was the killer for Boston today. They were 16-27 from the strip (59 percent) and 2-8 in the fourth quarter. When you add that in with 16 Celtic turnovers, it’s very difficult to win.
The Miami Heat avoided getting swept and live to fight another day. They also stalled the Wade free agency talk until they get ousted from the Playoffs. Winning Game 5 in Boston on Tuesday night will be a tall task, but that’s why they play the games.
We will tackle the Wade free agency talks, possible scenario’s, and break down the Heat whenever they are eliminated from the Playoffs. If this was indeed the last time Heat fans got to watch Wade as one of their own, he left a lasting impression that will be talked about forever..
This was a great game to be in the building for. It’s always fun when you see a record set, but even better when you see a guy of Wade’s caliber go off. A lot of debate goes on between basketball fans on who is the best player in the League. The truth is, there are a handful of guys who can have that title on any given night. Today belonged to Dwyane Wade.
QUOTES ON WADE’S PERFORMANCE
Dwyane Wade: “Coming into the fourth I think we were down six. I was trying to be very aggressive. I was shooting all those shots no matter what. I started making a couple. I got hot at the right time. I just wanted to will my team to victory. “I’m a rhythm player, and once I get in that rhythm, I think I can make any shot.”
Erik Spoelstra: We don’t take Dwyane for granted. Right now when his back is against the wall that’s what I call defiance and stubbornness.”
Quentin Richardson: “Sometimes, you know, he puts on the cape, man. There’s not a lot of things you can do when he’s playing that way.”
Michael Beasley: “He’s done it before, but to do it in a Playoff game against one of the best teams in the League…He’s a great player.”
Doc Rivers: He was fantastic. He made shots and he had to make them but he made them. We have to defend him better. He has hurt us this entire series and we just have to do a better job.”
Kevin Garnett: “He’s one of the best players in the League. (His play) doesn’t surprise us.”
Paul Pierce: “He just put it all on his shoulders, and did a good job of it.”