Friday, November 2, 2012

Heat Outlast Celtics

In a fiercely contested rematch of last spring's Eastern Conference Finals, the Miami Heat once again came out on top. The defending champions received their rings, then proceeded to take down the Boston Celtics, 120-107, in the NBA opener on Tuesday night.

Boston led early on, but Miami was in full control for most of the second half after pulling. away in the third. The Heat built a 19 point lead with eleven minutes to go, but Boston fought back with a Leandro Barbosa fueled run in the fourth quarter. The C's closed the gap to four points with two minutes left to play. But then Boston went cold, missing all four of its field goal attempts while the Heat finished out the game on a 9-0 run to secure the win. But not before Rajon Rondo delivered a flagrant foul on Dwyane Wade by grabbing his neck as he went up to score, a move Wade later referred to as a "punk play." D-Wade clearly overreacted here; even though the game was essentially over, Rondo made the right move by preventing the lay-up with a hard foul, and that's all it was. A hard foul.

What was Wade expecting, a slap on the wrist?

Other notes:


Kevin Garnett struggled offensively, as he scored just nine points and finished the game with more turnovers (five) than field goals (four). On the bright side, he hauled in a dozen rebounds and blocked a pair of shots.

Paul Pierce did his thing, finishing with 23-5-5, drilling two triples and sinking all nine of his free throw attempts.

Brandon Bass put up a double-double with 15 points and eleven boards, six of which came on the offensive end (more than the entire Miami team). He's a great fit here, and I'm glad he re-signed.

Rondo played more than 43 minutes and stuffed the stat sheet with some gaudy numbers; 20 points on 9-of-14 shooting with 13 dimes and seven rebounds. However, nitpickers will point out that he missed both his three point attempts, went just two-of-four at the line and didn't get any steals. I think this will be the year Rondo puts it all together and produces an MVP caliber season.

Courtney Lee looked solid in his Celtics debut before foul trouble forced him to the bench, scoring eleven points on just six field goal attempts. Jason Terry was unimpressive in his first game in Celtic green; JET had turnovers than field goals and failed to connect from beyond the arc. Jeff Green, playing his first game in nearly 18 months, did nothing (three rebounds and no field goals).

Barbosa scored all 16 of his points in the fourth quarter. Talk about a one-man comeback.

Didn't see enough of rookie Jared Sullinger to form much of an opinion about him. Will have to wait for him to emerge during garbage time.

Turnovers were a problem for Boston, as they piled up 15 TOs compared to Miami's 8. When you give the Heat extra possessions, you pay the price.

The Celtics hit three treys in the first quarter and three in the fourth, but didn't hit any in the second and third quarters.


Ray Allen had an outstanding performance in his first game against his former team. Ray Ray needed only seven field goal attempts to drop 19 points off the bench. He's my early favorite for Sixth Man of the Year (assuming Kevin Martin gets hurt at some point). Rashard Lewis also looked good in his Miami debut, netting ten points and five boards in just under 19 minutes of action. He gives the Heat some much needed depth off the bench and should be in line for a solid season.

Miami's other reserves were useless; Norris Cole, Udonis Haslem and NBA Finals hero Mike Miller combined for three points and three rebounds.

Wade led all scorers with 29 points but posted the worst +/- on the Heat with his -6 (primarily because he was present for Boston's last-ditch comeback).

Mario Chalmers did a great job facilitating and finished with eleven assists.

Lebron James initiated his quest for a fourth MVP trophy by pairing ten rebounds with his 26 efficient points despite logging the fewest minutes of the Heat's starting five.

Chris Bosh went for 19 and 10, but the part of his stat line that surprised me the most was his three blocked shots. Bosh was never a good shot-blocker in Toronto but he's become even worse in Miami, where he's averaged just 0.7 swats per game. You think he'd get at least one per game by shots deflecting off his giraffe neck.

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