Celtics/Heat Game 5 Recap
Cs KO the Heat, first round demons.
by Doobie Okon
Hello Bahston. I guess this is what happens when the East coast is scarcely represented in the Playoffs — no Sixers, Knicks, Wiz or any other team even remotely close to the P-H-I. But that’s aight, I don’t believe I’ve ever been to an NBA game where neither team was the Sixers, let alone a Playoff game between two. So, road trip to Beantown? Psh…what else am I gonna do, stay here and learn?
After a couple hiccups on the subway, I finally arrive to TD garden about two hours before tip-off…plenty of time to figure out just what the hell I’m doing. Find the media entrance and pressroom with ease. Matt Lawyue’s promise of ‘surf and turf’ in his Game 1 recap had me all giddy inside, but alas it’s only some questionable meatloaf and salmon on this night. Ah, well, I’m still kinda full from Anna’s, a local Mexican spot, anyways. Phenomenal call, B-ram.
Screw the food, let’s explore the gahden. Following the booming sound of the jumbotron, I stroll onto the court where mostly bench players are warming up. Michael B-easy is the only starter out there for both teams, working on his J from the top of the key. Shot looks good tonight. Shelden Williams, Michael Finley and Tony Allen are shooting around on Boston’s end…and I think I just spotted Tyronn Lue?? Ah, I see here… He’s the Celtic’s Director of Basketball Development? Really, Boston? To me, I still only visualize him with his ass on the floor looking up at Allen Iverson’s crotch nine years ago in the Finals.
The rafters here remind me of the ones back in Philly, ‘cept of course for all the championship banners. Eh, that stuff’s overrated anyways. Who wants to root for a winner?
Time to find these locker rooms. Assuming seven reporters aren’t all going to the bathroom at the same time, I follow them into a closed door that happens to be the visitor’s locker room. Phew. I overhear Mark Murphy of the Boston Herald talking about how the Philadelphia airport is the worst with delays…I crack a smile and let him know where I’m from…never a bad time to bash the ill, ay Mark?
The Heat locker room is very subdued with most of the players just chilling with their headphones. Beasley seems to be the most animated one and QRich is in the corner just thinking. Q tells me that he thinks the boos will still be reigning down on him especially with KG back in front of the Boston crowd. He’s only concerned with ‘having some type of effect on Pierce on D’ and ‘helping his team do whatever they can to win this next game’.
Boston’s quarters are rather empty but a crowd of mics are surrounding Big Baby. He offers some advice on how to guard a guy like DWade or LeBron, saying you gotta disguise yourself in the paint like you’re playing defense, and then at the last second brace for the blow and take the charge. Otherwise those kind of guys are so athletic that if they recognize a charge is coming they can easily jump around you. “Psh, I never woulda taken a charge in college.”
Ray-Ray gets hounded as soon as he sits, and in the middle of answering a question, he yells, “play that back, Brian.” The TVs in the locker room are replaying Game 4, and the Celts video man plays back five seconds to show Allen coming off a screen and nailing a trey from the top of the key. I guess just a mental note for ol’ Jesus Shuttlesworth…he says they didn’t have this kind of video access in the locker room when he first arrived at TD garden.
I make the trek all the way up the top of the arena where the press sits about 15 minutes before tipoff. The Cs come out to…ugh…the Rocky theme. I’m not even gonna start.
As the rest of the team shoots jumpers and lay-ups, Beasley’s trying all types of solo ally-oops off the backboard, one of them almost nailing a Boston cheerleader. Funny stuff. Good to see Mike is focused.
Welp, Triple H just told the arena to get ready and get loud…so I guess that means the game is underway. No Shawn Michaels or Undertaker or Stone Cold though. Damn. Anyways…game time. I hope folks in Boston got the memo that they lost Game 4, cause there are tons of empty seats as we tip off.
Not surprised to see DWade guarding Rondo off the tip, but a nice drive and floater by Rajon opens up the scoring.
QRich indeed gets slammed with boos as soon as he touches the ball. Be nice, Boston. I thought this was a friendly town.
A couple early sloppy passes by Rondo…Doc ain’t happy.
Get that weak ish out of my paint, Michael. Kendrick Perkins STUFFS Beasley’s pathetic dunk attempt…nice transition lay-up by Rondo on the other end.
Carlos Arroyo hits his first long two jumpers — good sign for the Heat. I think.
DWade gets his night going, with a nice driving lay-up under KG, then a one-legged runner to give Miami a 15-12 advantage.
PERK! His second ‘man’s man’ block on Beasley in three minutes — Michael tries a Jordan-esque fadeaway from the baseline that Perk proceeds to swat away to the fifth row. Crowd loves it. Good start for B-easy…
Still a ton of seats open mid-way through the first…am I missing something?
After an early struggle, Rondo looks great on and off the ball. He gets the ball through the passing lanes in the paint with ease, and then makes QRich and Beasley pay for ignoring his cut to the hoop. Easy lay-up to give the Cs the lead.
Some Beasley highlights thus far: blocked twice by Perk. Lost control of the ball on a driving lay-up. After a nice steal on Pierce, fumbled it out of bounds immediately. C’mon, Mike, you’re fighting for your Miami Heat life.
Rondo inside pass to KG who feeds it to the wide-open Perkins for the dunk.
This is Rondo’s team…two great assists to Pierce and Baby close out the quarter. 29-21 Cs. Boston’s passing is on point tonight — 11 assists so far for the Celtics, with each starter registering at least two dimes.
Miami’s hot hand is still in South Beach I guess. The Heat are only shooting 43 percent from the field so far, while going 0-4 from beyond the arc. Boston, meanwhile, is shooting at a 67 percent clip and outscoring Miami 16-8 in the paint.
As Wade starts the quarter off on the bench, the Heat resemble the Sixers from a few years ago with AI. They just have no offensive flow without their star.
Miami’s getting Rondo-d so far. Nice steal on Chalmers and calmly waits at the top of the key for the passing lanes to open to hit Tony Allen for the easy slam. Man, this kid has great vision.
Wade in….drive and kick to Jermaine O’Neal for the easy deuce to cut the Boston lead to eight. Hello, offensive flow.
Miami has zero chance in this game if this defense doesn’t improve. The passing lanes in the paint are open all day for Boston.
Here come the refs. Three straight questionable calls on the Cs has Perkins picking up a tech. The crowd ain’t happy, although maybe they’re just saying ‘boooo-urns’.
Interesting note…we’re mid-way through the second quarter and the Celtics have yet to attempt a free throw. That’s more Miami’s fault then Boston’s, as the Heat are barely challenging anything inside.
During the time-out, a Benjamin Franklin-looking geezer does a hilarious pump-fist dance to ‘I’m too sexy’. Priceless.
Finally. Udonis Haslem challenges KG at the rim and fouls him. Chants of ‘M-V-P’ while Garnett’s at the line?? Ah, the Irish. Kevin hits both to extend the lead to nine.
Here we go…after KG gets fouled on the next possession again by UD, replays show he shoved QRich away after the whistle is blown. Q proceeds to stand in the paint and illustrate this to the ref, but to no avail. At this point, Q, why even bother?
Pierce to the line now. More ‘M-V-P’ chants. That’s a lil’ better.
Beasley sightingggg. After sitting the first 8 minutes of the quarter, B-easy gets to the stripe on a bad call and knocks down his first two points of the game. 44-36 Cs.
Rajon tries to go to the rim hard, but second guesses his dunk attempt and instead gets blocked by DWade on the lay-up. Throw it down, yo.
Miami struggles for offense as the quarter closes. Boston’s leading, 48-38, going into halftime.
Rondo’s doing everything for the Cs, putting up 12 points, eight boards and five assists in the half. Looking at the Game Notes packet, Rondo is about to crack the Celtics’ top-ten list for all-time post-season assists. That’s incredible when you consider a fourth year man on such a historic franchise.
Wade has 11/5/6 so far, but has been relatively quiet and will need to take over this game for Miami to have any shot.
C’s passing disappeared that quarter, only posting two assists, but that won’t matter if the Heat continue to shoot this horribly. Miami’s FG% dropped to 35 percent going into half, and they still have yet to hit a three-ball (0-8).
Hmmm. First play for the Celts: Ray comes off the pick and roll and gets doubled immediately. Allen swings it back to Rondo who swings it to Pierce for the open three. How do you defend that? I feel like the Cs could run that all day. Too many weapons.
Ray off the pick for a trey. 56-42 Celtics.
Ray-Ray with another sweet spot-up touch from beyond. 62-46. Prettiest shot I’ve ever seen in person.
Ray-Ray-Ray is unstoppable. 65-46. Timeout. Honestly, Heat look cooked.
How it’s happening: The Heat decided to finally defend Boston’s inside game, but as a result they are all bunched up in the paint which is giving Allen and Piece a more-than-easy time getting their long jumpers off. Again, too many weapons, too much balance.
Two D’s for the Heat need to step up if they want to get back in this: Dwyane and Defense. Both are invisible mid-way through the quarter.
I have become a Rondo fan — dances his way into the paint and delivers a beautiful behind the back pass to Perk for the easy lay-up. Biggest lead of the game for Boston at 21 now.
I don’t know what Spoelstra said in the timeout, but it worked. Two straight threes by the hero of the 2008 NCAA tourney, Mario Chalmers, has the Heat bench standing up for the first time since the first quarter.
Welcome, Mr. Wade. Dwyane gets two at the line then nails two straight threes, and in a matter of 5 minutes, the lead has been trimmed from 21 to seven. Honestly, I don’t even know how that just happened.
Wait, yes, I do. Miami wasn’t hitting anything from beyond early, so the Celts backed off. Now they can’t miss. Let’s see how the Cs adjust their defense here.
Dumb play by Pierce at the end of the quarter to foul Chalmers on a three-ball attempt. Doc’s hands are on his knees in frustration. Chalmers hits all three to close the quarter. Cs only lead 71-65 heading into the final quarter.
Beasley: zero minutes in the quarter.
Are we stepping into Wade’s World once again? After Ray start’s the fourth off with a jumper, Wade gets 5 straight, including a gorgeous and one around Sheed that has him barking at the refs. Nice to finally see you, Sheed. Celts lead cut to 73-70. I can’t believe the Heat are in this game.
Bad news for Boston: With ten minutes left, Ray-Ray picks up his fifth foul, but Rivers is leaving him in. Your team, Doc. Stupid.
Ooooo, Baby. Davis with a nice spin move on Haslem and gets the and one. Horrible shimmy dance in the crowd though. C’mon, Baby, you’re better than that.
After a nice shot by Chalmers, Ray hits his fifth three pointer of half….82-74 Cs. The crowd is the loudest it’s been all night.
18,000 and change just called a travel on Chalmers, except the refs. Haslem proceeds to get two foul shots on the same possession to cut the lead to six again.
KG is starting to heating up, hitting 2 straight long jumpers while Baby actually takes a charge on Haslem on the other end. Hahahah.
Dwyane settles for a contested three-ball attempt…and misses. Boston is up 12 with five minutes left and the Heat look a little defeated after a great comeback attempt.
Celts are hitting their free throws down the streytch, unlike Game 4, as Baby hits two and the Celts are 18-19 from the stripe this game.
Spoke too soon. Pierce misses two of three but the Celts still lead by 13.
After a nice and one by Flash, who finishes with 31 points on 10-24 shooting, Ray-Ray hits the dagger three with 2 minutes left. Chalmers valiantly answers with a three-ball of his own, but the Heat miss their last 4 shots as the Celts easily close this game and this series out. Final score: 96-86, Boston. Onto the second round and Cleveland.
And again, Michael Beasley with no playing time in the second half.
Quickly found myself a seat in the pressroom. Around the Horn regular Bob Ryan is in the building, sitting across the aisle. Can’t wait to hear that hilarious voice in person. Anyway, some quotes on the game.
“Gotta give Boston credit. Veteran team, well coached, and they make you pay. When they start to read how you’re playing, they just dissect you. Our effort was there, but we were just one step too late.”
“This was a microcosm of our season. We get down, we fight back. We get down again, we fight back. We have guys that are warriors. They buy in and they won’t quit. It’s unique to have that many free agents buy into a team.”
“Rondo plays in another gear. I don’t know why they’re not called the ‘The Big 4’.”
“As far as Michael (Beasley), I wanted to put him back in the game in the second half but we just kept getting down so much. It wasn’t an indictment on how he was playing.”
“Ray (Allen) was terrific. It’s frustrating guarding Dwyane Wade, and Ray had to guard him almost all series. And to have the energy to still make shots, that was huge for us.”
“I asked Baby, ‘you ever heard of Milli Vanilli? They were a one-hit wonder. You were great in Game 2. Don’t be like Milli Vanilli.”
“It was a battle for us to get healthy. I don’t know what it feels like to win a short series. It’s just nice to get a day off tomorrow.”
“Yeah, Rondo played the whole game sick. He said he felt awful before the game. So naturally, when he says that, I play him the whole game. We needed him on the floor as a facilitator with all the shooters out there, and he got the ball to the right spot.”
“Feels good to finally close out a team early. Would have liked to do it in four, but maybe it was good to have a bump in the road.”
“First four games, Wade did whatever he wanted. Great players find ways to get it done. We did better on him defensively tonight, but he still got it done. The key was to take care of the other guys around him.”
“We had our doubts this season. The inconsistent play, the injuries. Things seemed to be mounting, but the thing that I credit this team on is mental toughness. We always stuck together and asked what could we do differently. Losing teams tend to point the finger. We never did that or held grudges. Sure, you get tired being around the same guys 24/7, 8 months out of the year. I’m not gonna lie, I get tired of looking at the same guys everyday, but it is what it is. We stick together and tough it out through good and bad times, and now’s a great time to really come together and play well.”
“We had a hell of a season. 47 wins — not bad for this ballclub. They were just the better team even though we thought it was a good matchup. Pretty self explanatory — the better team won.”
“I can’t predict the future. It’s gonna be a very important and busy summer. I gotta get over this first and then start pondering my future.”
“This Playoff run has no indication on my decision going forward. This will be my last first-round exit for a while, though, I can tell you that.”
“I think I put myself in a great situation three years ago to sign this deal to make my team better. We got some work to do, the front office has some work to do. It’s no pressure on me. I think any player that’s thinking about coming to Miami has to understand where my heart is. You just have to see things being done and accomplished. You see that, we’ll be talking again.”
Great game. Great experience. And on a last note, to hear Wade talking about his future in person, the message is pretty clear: ‘Miami, get me another superstar, and I’ll stay.’