Game Notes: Miami at Boston
Attack of the Rondo.
by Jonathan Evans
If there ever was a time for Miami to grab a win against Boston, this game this was it. The Heat came into this one on an eight-game winning streak while the beaten down Celtics came in losers of three of their last four and only dressed 10 players for the game. February or not, this was indeed an opportunity for Miami to prove they are the the class of the Eastern Conference.
After a sluggish first half for both teams, Rondo led a 35 point Celtics third quarter surge with nine points, three dimes and four rebounds in the period.
“During halftime Rondo said to me ‘Coach I’m trying to get guys going.’ I said ‘they might not be coming,’” Rivers said after the game. And with that R-Double took matters into his own hands with tough defense on LeBron and all-out hustle willed his team over the hump.
“That wasn’t a set game plan for him to guard LeBron,” Rivers said after the game. “We just wanted ball pressure… Rondo took that upon himself that whoever was bringing the ball up he was going to guard and harass. I thought that changed the game for us.”
With the two-time league MVP being harassed by a point guard at least 80 pounds his junior, Boston outscored Miami 20-5. The Heat weathered the Rondo storm and almost pulled it out late in the fourth behind big performances from Chris Bosh and James. But in the end, a miss from the line by James and a game-ending miss from three by Mike Miller sent Miami home in second place.
Here’s how this one went down:
Slow going here early with lots of missed shots on both ends. Boston in particular is struggling to get anything going offensively shooting just 27 percent from the field so far. In the stands, the Boston fans also really haven’t gotten into this one. I guess it’s tough to make crude jokes about LeBron so soon after Sunday brunch.
Bron Bron posts up Paul Pierce. Backs him down, power dribble and puts in soft hook. There is nothing stopping him from getting that shot all day every day if he wanted.
Big Baby steals the ball, leads the one man break, and going in for the dunk he takes off a step too soon and comes up about six inches short. With that, I think Twitter may have just exploded.
Nate Robinson takes a vintage Nate Robinson shot, pulling up for contested three instead of passing off to open teammate. Next time down, Nate drops off a pass to no one in particular for the turnover. I think that’s all Doc needed to see from Nate, as he summons Rajon back into the game. Despite the misadventures of Shrek and Donkey, the Celtics bench is performed admirably here in the second.
Bosh faces up on Kevin Garnett, and then falls down. Thanks for coming, Chris.
Pretty drive by LeBron who drives left and throws up a tear drop over KG as he falls out of bounds. Somewhere Bill Raftery is excitedly asking for a vegetable. Miami ends the half up by four.
Lebron at point forward to open the third should be a tough matchup for Rondo. James backs him down and forces Boston to double team.
Ray Allen drains a corner three. It’s 51-44, Boston. That shot caps an 11-1 run by Boston to open the second half.
It’s getting a little chippy here in the third. Big Z levels Rondo with a screen. On the other end, Garnett leans into one and floors Mike Miller with a screen to free up Ray for a shot. In the scrum for the rebound, Wade comes from the weak side and throws a shoulder into KG. Tempers flare and Wade is called for the flagrant.
Two girls on the jumbotron excitedly flaunt their Chris Bosh and Jamal Mashburn jerseys. These ladies clearly know winners when they see them.
Out of a timeout Miami finally takes advantage of the James-Rondo matchup. James posts, Perk doubles, and James goes behind the back to a wide-open Z for an and-one. Next time down, James post and drives across the paint for the hoop and the foul.
Two threes by Von Wafer extend Boston’s lead. He may not have the most secure spot in the rotation, but he’s certainly mastered his celebration routine. Still, this is a good game for him to show he can play.
Boston’s offense has gone stagnant here in the fourth as Miami’s defense has stepped up. On the other side of the ball, the Bron Bron and Bosh pick and roll is bringing Miami back into this one. KG and his hedge can’t seem to do much to stop it. A wet jumper from LeBron pulls Miami within 4 with under five minutes left.
Big jumper from Baby gives Boston a bit of breathing room. Missed dunk aside, Davis has been clutch for the Celtics today with 14 points so far. On the other side, Miami has gotten little to nothing from their bench as their Big Three has shouldered most of the scoring load.
Garnett comes through with tough turnaround jumper to put Boston back up by four with under two to play. Ninteen points for KG, many coming from vintage back to the basket play.
Miami baits Rondo into the elbow jumper with under a minute left; his miss gives Miami a last shot at erasing a two point deficit. As LeBron drives, Pierce fouls him, sending James to the line with a chance to tie the game. James back rims the first freethrow, hits the second and then hits a fan in a valiant but futile attempt at stealing the ensuing inbound pass.
After two free throws by Davis, Miami still has a chance. Down three and with the ball, out of a timeout, Dwyane Wade levels Glen Davis with a screen to free up Mike Miller, an excellent shooter. Miller misses the wide-open three. Ballgame.