1) I don't know what to tell you - my email and texts are already blowing up with complaints about the refereeing, specifically a bizarre technical foul on Almario Vernard Chalmers with 3 minutes to go, and the last play when Udonis Haslem poked the ball free from Kevin Garnett - but you know what? The fact of the matter is that Miami didn't play well. They never played well in this game, especially defensively. Boston shot the ball poorly from the outside (until the dagger by Paul Pierce, and 2 late killer 3s by Mikael Pietrus - more on that in #4), but got layup after layup at the basket, mostly on simple defensive errors by the Heat: not getting back on defense, not addressing rollers to the rim, not helping from the weakside. One thing you can almost always count on with this Heat team is that they will play fundamentally sound on the defensive end, but tonight they did not, and they have put themselves in a huge, huge hole. Lose Thursday in Boston and the ramifications promise to be drastic. This version of the Heat isn't dead yet...but it's getting close. Let's go...
2) When the Heat got down 5 to end the third quarter, after being up 9 earlier in the quarter, I can't lie, I was ready to go. I have never been more tired, sleep-deprivation-wise, in my life. Not too complain too much, but when the games start late, I finish writing this blog at like 12:30 or 1 o'clock, and then even if I'm exhausted, my brain is too awake to sleep. Even on the off nights, my sleep pattern is all messed up from game nights, so I'm just waxed right now. Plus, I'm super-old! Still, Dwyane Wade and KJ James had one little last run in them. Neither one was particularly efficient - they combined for 57 points, but it took them 47 shots. KJ had 13 rebounds and Dwyane had 6. But, again, the paint was jammed, and besides one late Chalmers three to put the Heat up one with just under 3 minutes to play, they really just didn't get enough help from the edges, as the shooters (Battier, Mil-lar, Chalmers, and James Jones) made only 4-14. When Miami plays well, Wade and KJ get into the lane, and then shooters make open shots; when they play poorly, the shooters do not make shots. Pretty simple. Bad time for one of the "shooters do not make shots" games!
3) Chris Bosh came back and played for the first time in, what, 100 years? Oh, like two weeks? Jeez, do the playoffs ever distort time...He had a sweet early finish off a pick-and-roll pass form Norris Cole (!), and created a triple for Mike Mil-lar just by being on the court when Kevin Garnett didn't leave him to contest a Cole drive, creating an easy pass. But defensively he was atrocious, although it's tough to blame him - he just has been out too long, with an injury that required immobility, and he looked slow and lost on the defensive end. On one possession he trailed Paul Pierce out to the corner in transition, even though Mike Mil-lar was already tracking Pierce - meanwhile, Bosh's guy, Garnett, walked down the lane and nearly decapitated poor James Jones with a tomahawk dunk. On another possession, Bosh's man (again Garnett) rolled to the rim, KJ helped from the ball side by bumping him and staying attached long enough to trade him back to Bosh who was supposed to get back to him - unfortunately, Bosh sort of wandered slowly backwards, and Garnett got another layup. Chris played 14 minutes and scored 9 points on 3-8, and had 7 rebounds - to be candid, 6 of the rebounds were offensive, and I think 3 were tips that he missed. I give him a lot of credit for going out there and trying with an injury that sounds very painful - he doesn't have a rep as the toughest guy on earth, exactly - but he wasn't much help.
4) Play of the game: Well, Pierce hit a bomb over KJ to put it away in the final minute - give him the credit for knocking it down - but the biggest play probably happened with about 5 minutes to go. Miami was up 6 due mostly to rim attacks by Wade, and a triple by KJ, and Brandon Bass came down the lane to try to flush with authority and Dwyane Wade went up and met him at the rim with force, rejecting the dunk away. Unfortunately the ball caromed towards Rondo, who just beat KJ to it, and batted it over to a wide open Mikael Pietrus who drained a corner triple to cut the lead back to 3. Huge game changer - huge. KJ gets to that ball first and runs out? You may be able to ponder that one all summer, boy...
5) Speaking of Rondo: Yes, we know he is a social deviant, his own teammates hate him, and the organization is constantly trying to trade him even though he is an outstanding player. What we didn't know about him, until tonight, is that he might have the longest fingernails I have ever seen on a man. Ewwww-iccckkkkkyyyy!!! A first-half closeup of those claws had me a little queasy. You know last game when I told you how much I love naturally full eyebrows, that it's a huge turn-on? You know what is a huge turn-off? Ashy, pointy-eared aliens with half-inch razors spiking off the tips of their fingers! Uggghhhh, I'm getting the creepy-crawlies again right now. I'm going to be flaccid for a month, or more. Good God, can't one of those veteran Celtics take him aside and teach him something about grooming? M.Minutos threatened to divorce me if I re-wound the dvr back to look at it again - I would have anyways, but I was worried my retinas might have been irreparably burned...
6) Two quick notes here, then I am going to try to get some sleep. One, T.Minutos made a impassioned claim that the KFC ad that I love so much is not actually a party but a scene at an outdoor mall. She makes the points that, one, it is more plausible that the magician would actually be a street-performer rather than a magician who performs at adult cocktail parties; and, two, that if it were a party, why would the guy have a bucket of chicken? Probably got it in the mall somewhere. I think she's right, and now I hate this ad. The thing I liked best (besides the handsome star) was that it looked like a great outdoor party...Second, tonight we were inundated with ads for Miller beer - now they have a little punch-hole on top of the can that you open with your key, "for a smoother pour." I've so many rough pours with a regular beer can spout - it's a huge relief for me to know that isn't going to haunt me any longer. One of the Greatest Friends of this Blog ever (and also the only Celtics fan I don't despise and actually feel happy for), WebMinutos, is a world-class chef, and also a well-known connoisseur of both beer and party wines. He's probably too modest to take the credit for it, but I have to believe that he played some role in this new Miller spout - smacks of his love of both easy-pouring and mass-produced, generic American beers. You are skilled, WebMinutos; I exhort you.
Well, believe it or not, there is still another game in this series. I think a lot of people (like me) feel like we have all suffered enough, but, no, there is still more! We'll be back Thursday, when we either get eliminated - and sign off this blog for the summer (forever?) - or force a Game 7. If you need me before then, I'll be at the store buying a few extra sets of nail-clippers just so I make sure I never, ever, ever, end up with fingernails like Rondo's. Argghhhh!!!