Jobu finally weighs in on the NBA playoffs, breaking down the exciting series so far between the Miami Heat and the Boston Celtics.
So I haven’t really written anything about the NBA playoffs, despite the fact that my Celtics are currently entrenched in a pretty good Eastern Conference Finals with the hated Miami Heat. That series, as well as the Spurs/Thunder series started out 2-0 and has since been tied up at two. Here’s a bit about how it’s gone down so far for the C’s.
I didn’t have too many expectations coming into this series. I always believe my teams have a better chance to win than they probably do (yes, even though I’m so hard on the Yankees), so I had that fan’s optimism coming in. You know, the kind that says “If we play at the top of our game, and a couple of breaks go our way, we can win this thing!”
I was pretty wrong about that, but not in the way I thought I would be. The Celtics have not played at the top of their game yet this series. They have at times, but haven’t been able to consistently maintain their level of play. It has led to a lot of great and exciting first halves, but just as many scary and disappointing second halves. It’s a bit frustrating to watch your team blow double digit leads in almost every game, but they’ve managed to get through the first four games with as many wins as losses (despite some pretty shoddy refereeing… looks like we know who the NBA is protecting this season).
Game one was the only one that was really never in doubt. The Heat jumped out to a ten point lead in the first, and the Celtics managed to tie it by half time, but they only managed 33 points in the second half, and the Heat ran away with a fourteen point win.Garnett led the way for the Celtics with 23 points and 10 rebounds, but the Celtics looked pretty flat. Lebron James led the way for the Heat with 32 points, and Wade chipped in 22 in the 93-79 win.
Game two featured an MVP performance by Rajon Rondo, but the Celtics ultimately experienced a disappointing overtime loss. Rondo, know mostly as an all-around player (triple double threat every night) and a disher (11.9 APG), really put the Celtics on his back in this game. His 44 points were a career high in any type of game, and he still managed 10 assists and 8 rebounds. It’s probably one of the greatest games in Celtics playoff history, which is saying a lot. This was the first game in which the Celtics got off to a hot start but faltered in the second half and lost it in overtime. At one point, the Celtics had a double digit lead, but it was erased rather quickly in the third period, and the Heat took the game 116-111.
Two losses are never good, but the home team is supposed to have the advantage when they’re in their own house, so losing two in Miami wasn’t the worst thing in the world, as long as the Celtics could represent at home. Thankfully, they did. Game three saw the Celtics lead by as many as 24 points at the beginning of the fourth, That’s when the Heat suddenly came to life, cutting the lead to single digits before the Celtics finally put the hammer down and won 101-91. Rondo, Garnett and Pierce all scored over 20 points, and Rondo threw in 10 assists to boot. James topped 30 points for the third straight game, but it wasn’t enough for the Heat, and the Celtics were back in the series.
That set the stage for last night’s game four, which the Celtics won in overtime despite blowing an 18-point lead in the second half (again) and only scoring 4 points in the overtime period. Wowsers. This game couldn’t have started out better for the Celtics. They came out hot, scoring 34 in the first period and 27 in the second. The way this series had been going though, the 61 point first half wasn’t as exciting as it maybe should have been. You knew the Heat would eventually make things close, and they did. Ultimately, the Celtics defense held strong on the last shot of regulation, and during the overtime and the Celtics pulled the game out (although I thought for sure Wade’s three was going in for the win at the end of OT). The Celtics had six players in double figures, and Rondo chipped in 15 assists in the 93-91 win.
If the Celtics want to win this series, they’re obviously going to have to win one in Miami. The rest of the series breaks down like this: Game five is Tuesday in Miami, game six is Thursday in Boston and game seven (if needed) would be back in Miami on Saturday night. Ideally, the Celtics would need to come out an win game five in Miami. That would give them two cracks at winning the series, one of them at home. If the Heat win game five, I still like the Celtics’ chances at forcing game seven, but a game seven in Miami might be too much for this team to handle. Hopefully Rondo (do they still want to trade him?) continues his MVP run, and the Celtics can get to the NBA finals again. Here’s hoping for a little luck.
Featured image courtesy of: (Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images)
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