Sunday, June 10th, 2012 at 10:03 am  |  44 responses

Post Up: Miami Moves On

After coming through when it matters most, the Heat are off to Oklahoma City.

Heat 101, Celtics 88 (Miami wins series 4-3)

As the final buzzer sounded in Miami on Saturday night, Celtics fans caught what may have been their last glimpse of their version of the “Big Three” in Boston. An era that restored basketball in a sports-crazed city may very well have seen its final moments. But the “Big Three” before the Heat’s “Big Three” made one heck of a last run at the villains of the East. Kevin Garnett found the time-traveling Delorean and flew 10 years back in time with McFly this series, defending the basket like no big in recent memory and offensively dominating a front court lacking Heat team. Paul Pierce’s “All In Your Face” three in Game 5 will go down as arguably the biggest shot by any Celtics player in the 2011-12 season. Ray Allen’s ankle injury severely limited his contributions, but he gave his best effort every play on the court and hit some big shots down the stretch.

Staying with the Celtics, Rajon Rondo put on the Superman cape for much of the series and almost single-handedly won a few of the games vs. the Heat. During certain stretches of play during this series, one could make the case that Rondo was the best point guard in the world. His stat lines alone look like video game lines, and his unorthodox ways of scoring puzzled the Heat night in and night out. Is he the best point guard in the world every minute of every game? Of course not. However, he proved in the Eastern Conference Finals that although he may not be as consistently dominant, he deserves his name in the talks with Derrick Rose and Chris Paul for the best point guards in the NBA.

However, the firepower of the Big Three eventually wore out the tired Celtics. LeBron followed his jaw dropping 45-point, 15-rebound, 5-assist game with a 31-point and 12-rebound game. He scored big buckets in the fourth quarter and refused to let fatigue set in. Dwyane Wade started off the game like he wanted to get out of the arena and go party, but he stepped up his efforts in the second half and came through with a few big buckets. Chris Bosh, in arguably the best outside shooting performance of his career, added 19 huge points and made his presence felt again.

The Heat will need huge contributions from Wade and Bosh if they have any chance at beating the Thunder in the NBA Finals. Erik Spoelstra needs to find a way to get LeBron a break during the game. The fact that LeBron played every second of the game until the last 30 seconds makes me question Spoelstra even more. If LeBron doesn’t start getting breaks in the game, he will get too tired in the fourth quarter and bring the usual demons back upon himself. Spoelstra needs to make LeBron’s job easier in the fourth quarter by getting him short breaks during the first three quarters.

The Heat’s ability to run the floor and make plays in transition ranks as high as any team in the league. When LeBron plays 48 minutes, however, the Heat cannot run as much. They settle for their usual one-on-one isolation crap basketball and run a stagnant offensive in which everyone watches the guy with the ball and don’t move. The Heat flat out need to do more offensively if they want to beat the Thunder. They haven’t seen the type of athleticism and length the Thunder possess, and the Thunder will try to run them out the gym. In all honesty, the Thunder running may make the Heat run more, which will almost help the Heat as much as the Thunder. The Thunder probably won’t struggle putting the ball in the hole and will crush the Heat when LeBron and Wade aren’t converting on offense. I hope Spoelstra has a few tricks up his sleeve he’s saved for, uh, the whole season. If LeBron’s shot keeps falling, the Heat will not have many offensive worries. If him or Wade go cold for a while, the Heat may get into some serious trouble.

I could be here all night making this an “Ode to the Big Three plus Rondo”, but I’ll settle by saying how incredible it was to watch the Celtics play this post season. Seeing teams that emphasize hustle, determination, defense, and rebounding gives NBA fans a breath of fresh air. The Celtics quickly became one of the funnest teams to watch over the course of the playoffs. They had arguably the league’s most exciting point guard ripping off highlight reel plays left and right. They had Paul Pierce knocking down big shots late in games. They had the League’s best leader, best defender, and best overall teammate playing with a tenacity and controlled anger that the league hasn’t seen in ages. They played as hard, if not harder, than any team in the NBA, and they soaked in every single word their boss Doc Rivers spewed out of his mouth. They followed Doc like a new born baby follows his/her parents. They defended, shared the ball, rebounded, and out-hustled everyone they played. In the end, as Stephen A. Smith noted, “Father time finally caught up with the Celtics.” The Celtics went down, but they sure did not go down without a fight. Every Celtics fan should walk around Sunday and the rest of the year proud to cheer for such a pleasant group to watch. The modern Celtics era may be over, but the Rondo-Pierce-Garnett-Allen team will never be forgotten. —Dave Spahn (@DaveSpahn)

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  • brill86

    Cant wait for this Thunder and Heat finals. i honestly have no idea what will happen or who will win. i think westbrook and wade will be the key tho. you can pretty much pencil in Lebron and Durant to have great games. But wade is the only miami heat player outside of lebron who has the lateral quickness to stay in front of westbrook. I would almost use the defense the heat saw against the celtics and implement it against the thunder. which means trap westbrook and have lebron play durant straight up. alas i am not a basketball savant so this could be all wrong.

  • http://slamonline.com The Philosopher

    The Heat shows their mettle.
    Shall the Heat win the championship, and The King maintains this level, while winning Playoff/Finals MVP, he moves into top 15 all time territory.
    In my opinion.

  • http://Roosterteeth.com Caboose

    Called this the instant the Thunder made the Finals. I won’t say anything more, but it’s awfully “convenient” to have a Bron/Durant Finals in the year where the League looked like an ass for July-October.

  • phillip

    One thing that really stood out (yet not so visibly) is the effectiveness of floaters. LeBron and Wade fully exploited floaters to take the defenders off-guard. It was fun to watch (like my heart hanging in the air while waiting for the ball to float in the mid-air, felt like a 50-50 chance of going in).

    Great job to Bosh. Hit late crucial shots which countered Boston’s effort in halting the run. Something funny was when the commentator brought up LeBron’s stat line, highlighting that he hadn’t made any assist yet, Bron dished out to Bosh for a dagger three! LOL! That’s the one assist man!

  • jazz

    can’t ye just enjoy the show Philosopher without thinking about where he ranks all time after a finals series, its putrid thinking that plagues the american sports world all this legacy shit

  • http://slamonline.com Datkid

    brill86 that is exactly what they should do actually. and maybe stick battier on harden so they can slow him down for a while.

  • Heals

    Wasn’t so much that my C’s lost as I never expected them to win, but it was KNOWING they were gonna lose even when up 11. For everything the New3 has done to revitalize Celtic Pride, this is the part of their legacy. In 08′ they were the best team and won, BUT in Gm7 vs Orl they got blown out in the 2nd half, Gm7 vs LA they choked away the 4th quarter lead and now Gm7 vs Mia they get run out the gym the 2nd half. Beating Atl, Cle and Phi in Gm7′s at home were all vs lesser teams, the other Gm7′s (which they all lost) were the ones that could’ve put KG, RayRay and PP34 up there with Bird, McHale and Parrish. These were their Ali-Frazier moments and they came up short. I LOVED these past 5 seasons and my favorite teams may be the ones that didn’t win it all (09′, 10′ and 12′) The reasons they lost these Gm7′s is (to me) a glimpse into why each of the New3 couldn’t get it done individually; they are all HOF’s, but not GOAT HOF’s if ya get what I’m saying…

  • Heals

    As for the Heat, much love on an intense series with very opposite highs and lows. I never thought Bos had the advantage and thought it would’ve been pretty crappy (from a hoops fan POV) if Bos beat them and then Bosh was healthy 2 days later. Mia EARNED their spot here (yes Bulls fans they did) and I look forward to awesome Finals that should show the world just how good the sport of basketball is…

  • Andrew Woods

    @datkid….i dont know how good a job shane will do with harden. Battier’s lack of foot speed really shows when matched up with explosive guards and forwards. If Bosh can get ibaka away from the hoop and in foul trouble they have a good chance at the chip. Esp if lebron avgs 15 ft a game and wade attacka attacks attacks too….they must keep the thunder on their heels and out there comfort zone. If not westbrook will match Durants output and it will be over

  • Da-REAL-Meat-Hook

    Caboose, you’re a moron. The players had absolutely nothing to do with the outcome, right? Idiot. If everything is so scripted then stop watching you unintelligent teenage dolt. Go back to the playground where you’re the last last kid picked to play.

  • http://Slamonline.com nbk

    There is one game this post season where the redding was bad enough to question it. There is no fix. Quit that noise. Refs don’t miss shots.

  • http://Roosterteeth.com Caboose

    Look, the Heat won that game, I was just being funny (poorly). These playoffs have been actually decent reffereeing aside from Thunder/Spurs Games 5 & 6. Game 6 was Kings/Lakers 2002 ish. But no, it’s not scripted. Maybe I’m bitter after Manny somehow lost that fight last night haha.

  • http://Roosterteeth.com Caboose

    And MH, no need to make it personal when all I do is make an observation. That’s immature and I’ve seen you on these boards long enough to know that you know that was uncalled for.

  • http://cnbc.com JTaylor21

    Marquez was cheated out of a win vs Pac-Man, now Pac-Man gets cheated out of a win vs Bradley. All is fair in the world.

  • Da-REAL-Meat-Hook

    We can all agree that pro boxing has officially lost what little integrity it had left.

  • http://Slamonline.com nbk

    It’s all good I understand. But there is no conspiracy to stage the finals. Those two squads were just flat better than everyone else. San Antonio has a legitimate gripe about game 6 though. That was just awful.

  • SeanMagicJuan

    Sadly, with the internet age we have reduced losing to “blame the officiating” and deflect. The irony is that it should be talked about more in instances where single elimination games are the norm. It’s a helluva lot harder to rig a series than one big game. When a team loses a 7 game series, the other team was better.

  • http://Roosterteeth.com Caboose

    Cosign that Meat Hook. That was utterly shameful. Idk about you guys, but I scored it 118-110. ESPN had it 119-109. I still don’t get how on earth it happened…

  • http://www.slamonline.com Slick Ric

    Co-sign Jtaylor, boxing wasn’t so corrupt when it was Manny stealing a victory. SMH

  • http://slamonline.com The Philosopher

    Lol. My bad, man.

  • BostonBaller

    Congrats again to The Heat. Our poor passes and defense in the 4th was horrifying and the Heat played well. Hats off to Bosh! Heals: I actually thought we had a chance to win this series and The Finals from a pure hoop perspective. We didn’t get this far without earning the spot and neither did the other Final 4 teams. It’s time to sit back and watch to really good teams go at it. I want 7 close games and a few OT’s…

  • BostonBaller

    BTW, I can honestly say that I hate the format for The Finals. If the home team loses 1 of the first two games it is extremely hard to win the series. (2-3-2) and if the home teams hold serve and win on their home court the 1st 5 games it also takes some of the home court advantage away since the team with 3 straight wins only has to win 1 more. What is the point of having home court advantage if you are going to be away from home for 3 straight games and 5 plus days? IMO.

  • http://Slamonline.com nbk

    It basically forces a 6 game series. The finals has been six games the majority if years since they started scheduling it this way

  • MeloMan15

    A applaud the Boston Celtics… great, scrappy team, played the right way… had an old school swagger to them. Injuries and age really screwed them up and I wish the big three was formed a few years earlier so we could see them in their prime. I’m gonna miss them

  • Da-REAL-Meat-Hook

    Boxing has been corrupt for a long time now. Long before Pac and Marquez. What sport have you been watching?

  • http://thetroyblog.com Teddy-the-Bear

    Why is it so hard to believe that some refs are dirty? I don’t think the league itself would risk it’s reputation by rigging things (besides the draft… *wink wink*) but are we supposed to believe Tim Donaghy was the only ref gambling/fixing games?

  • Da-REAL-Meat-Hook

    Oh I definitely believe there a a few dirty refs, but ultimately the players decide the game. Players make and miss shots.

  • Drig

    the only team which should have a legit gripe is the Spurs. They were screwed. And what’s worse is the fact that unlike Sac-LAL where Sac choked in Gm 7 at home ( I think ), Spurs didn’t even have a chance of going back and wrapping things up.

  • http://www.fiba.com Darksaber

    If a (widely despised) team makes the Nba finals, while falling in the woods……did anyone hear (i.e. Comment on) it?

  • T-Money

    one prediction i will make: brandon bass will not pick up his player option for 4 mil and is going to get p-a-i-d this summer. can’t believe otis traded him for big baby!

  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5OhGZNLPSOY&feature=related Allenp

    ^neither could the Celtics.

  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=rwDluFZQmtQ Max

    T-Money, It’s Otis of course you should believe his trades!

  • Da-Meat-Hook

    Caboose, that imposter called you a moron, not me!

  • Da-Meat-Hook

    STOP POSTING USING MY NAME. You’re a coward who doesn’t have the fortitude to insult others or disagree with others unless it’s under someone else’s name. Grow up you f*cking child!

  • http://slamonline.com Teddy-the-Bear

    It’s all fun and games till someone uses your SLAMonline handle.

  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dQw4w9WgXcQ Teddy-the-Bear

    BREAKING! Rockets fire Kevin McHale! Click my name for details, this is crazy… Why Houston?!

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    wait Teddy for real? He was at the rookie combine the other day…

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    oh lol nvm

  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dQw4w9WgXcQ Teddy-the-Bear


  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dQw4w9WgXcQ Teddy-the-Bear

    sorry, I had to do it bro.

  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dQw4w9WgXcQ Teddy-the-Bear

    oh wow, stupid advertisement before the video. Wouldn’t even work anyways. damn you vevo!

  • http://slamonline.com LakeShow

    “oh lol nm”
    Ahahaaa. Fukcing Rick.

  • kevintg

    Great series and looking forward to the Finals. Some of us old timers find it amusing to hear Celtic fans complain about the refs.

  • trueballer4life