at Boston Celtics (8-6, 0-1) at Miami Heat (9-3,1-0)
Playoff Game #15 – Road Game #8
Wednesday, May 30, 2012
8:30 pm ET
TV: ESPN, TSN
Radio: WEEI, 790 AM, ESPN Radio
American Airlines ArenaProbable Starting Matchups Point Guard
Rajon Rondo vs Mario Chalmers Shooting Guard
Ray Allen vs Dwyane Wade
Paul Pierce vs LeBron James
Brandon Bass vs Shane Battier
Kevin Garnett vs Ronny Turiaf Player to Watch
Kevin Garnett was clearly upset by the game 1 loss and he was even more upset by the taunting he saw from LeBron that was allowed by the officials. I expect a very focused and physical Kevin Garnett in this game. Reserves
Paul Pierce (knee) probable
Mickael Pietrus (hamstring) probable
Ray Allen (ankle) probable
Greg Stiemsma (feet) probable
Avery Bradley (shoulder) outPlayer to Watch
Wade was not aggressive in the first half and the Celtics stayed with the Heat. He came out in the 3rd quarter and was more aggressive and looked for his shot and to get to the hoop and the Heat pulled away. The Heat need Wade to be aggressive on both ends to be successful. Reserves
Chris Bosh (ab strain) out
Dexter Pittman (suspension) outKey Matchups
Rajon Rondo vs Mario Chalmers
As always, Rondo is the key to the Celtics offense, defense, and energy. When Rondo plays well, the Celtics play well. When Rondo is aggressive and in "Triple Double Rondo" mode, he causes matchup problems for the Heat. Rondo must be aggressive and he must run the offense and not allow it to get stagnant.
Paul Pierce vs LeBron James
Paul Pierce must be more aggressive on both ends in game 2. He has to try to stay with LeBron on defense and perhaps help to prevent a few of the easy layups and dunks he got in game 1. Pierce also must be more aggressive in going to the basket and trying to draw fouls. He had NO free throws in game 1. Of course getting to the line will also depend on the refs calling fouls, which they didn't do in game 1. He also has to be more aggressive on the boards. He is capable of getting more than 2 rebounds if he puts out the effort. The Celtics need more from their Captain.
Brandon Bass vs Shane Battier
Bass has a strength advantage and should also be quick enough to stay with Battier when he goes out beyond the 3 point line. Bass needs to use that strength advantage to get his shot off and he has to hit them. He also must be more aggressive in going after rebounds. He had just 2 rebounds in game 1 and was out rebounded by both point guards. That shouldn't be. Game Notes
The Celtics looked slow and old in the second half of game 1. They allowed way too many dunks and open layups. They had their shots blocked 11 times. The Heat beat them to loose balls and rebounds. They were able to hang with the Heat through the first 2 quarters in spite of a slow start, but were outplayed in the second half in just about every area.
The officiating was horrible in game 1 but that wasn't the reason the Celtics lost. The blocked shots were mostly a result of the Celtics driving to the hoop and looking for the foul instead of finishing strong. They have to stop looking for the refs to bail them out and look to score instead. Their offense was also very sluggish and they weren't moving the ball and just didn't seem focused.
Ray Allen is a shell of himself. He has become a liability on defense and his struggles are very clearly seen on the free throw line where he was just 3-7. He was also just 1-7 from the field. We know that he will hit some big shots at some time or other as he did in game 7 vs Philly. Doc has got to decide whether what he can add now is greater than his limitations in the game. Might it be time to rest Ray and play Pietrus or Dooling in his place. Both are better on defense and both can stretch the floor with their offense.
The Celtics have had a day off to rest after being embarrassed in game 1. It was not just the loss, but the showboating and the gloating and the taunting by the Heat. We know that they are a proud team and that they have a lot of heart. They have proved that this season in playing through all the injuries and all that has gone on this season. But the question remains do they have the legs and can they physically match up with a much younger and more athletic Heat team.
Keys to the GameStart strong
- The Celtics must get off to a better start than they did in game 1. They have to come out strong and be aggressive right from the opening tip. They have to hit their shots and they have to play defense to prevent the easy scoring from the Heat. They can't score 11 points in a quarter and expect to win the game. Run the Offense
- The Celtics must run their sets and move the ball. Rondo dribbling around and then taking a shot as the clock winds down or passing to a teammate for a rushed shot won't do it. The Celtics are at their best when they are moving the ball and making the extra pass and finding the open man. Along with moving the ball, they have to make smart passes and not the sloppy passes that lead to turnovers since turnovers against the Heat usually lead to a LeBron dunk at the other end. Rebound
- The Celtics got out worked on the boards 48-33 in game 1. Much of rebounding is desire and effort. How else can you explain 6'1" Rondo out rebounding everyone on the team except KG? The Celtics have got to put out more effort in going after rebounds and crashing the boards. The team that wins the rebounding battle more often than not wins the game. Defense
- Defense wins championships. That's not just a cute saying, either. The Heat increased their defensive pressure in the second half and it took the Celtics out of their game. The Celtics, however didn't play their best defense in the game, allowing way too many easy shots in the paint and too many open perimeter shots. The Celtics have got to play in your face defense from start to finish. Be Aggressive
- The Celtics must be the more aggressive team if they want to win this game. They have to be the team that wins the 50/50 balls. They have to be the team more aggressive on the boards. They must be the more aggressive team in going to the hoop and finishing at the hoop, not just driving toward the basket and hoping to bet the foul. And they have to be the more aggressive team on defense. If they allow the Heat to outwork them again as they did in game 1, they will probably get the same result. X-Factors
Physical Ability and Officiating
The Celtics have heart and they have pride, but do they have enough left in the tank to play harder than the Heat. Ray Allen and Paul Pierce are definitely hurting and it may be asking too much of them to play at 100% when they just have 60% or less of their health.
The officiating in game 1 was absolutely horrible. Will the officials call it fair or will they once again hit the Celtics with phantom fouls and technicals will allowing the Heat free reign? The Celtics already have an uphill battle overcoming age and injuries without also having to overcome one sided officiating as well.