Sunday, June 10, 2012

Heat 101 Celtics 88 Heat win series 4-3

6 Thoughts

1) What if I said to you that in the biggest game of the season thus far, with Miami struggling on its home floor and facing elimination to the hated Celtics, that Chris Bosh - yes, that Chris Bosh - was going to step up and save the season?  You would think I was joking, right?  I mean, Chris Bosh, he's playing with a pulled abdominal muscle, and he's not exactly noted for being a stone-cold killer, or particularly engaged, or even, really, that conscious.  Well guess what: CONSCIOUS!  LETTTT'SSSSS GOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!

2) I mean, yeah, Bosh made three triples - don't believe he's ever made two in a game since he's been on the Heat, and certainly not three, and he scored 19 points on 8-10 in 31 minutes off the bench, and two of the triples were fourth quarter monsters.  All that was huge.  But it was four other plays he made down the stretch that helped seal the game - and they were particularly un-Bosh-like.  With Miami up 5 after a 30 foot KJ James bomb and under 5 minutes to go, Rajon Rondo - who couldn't have been douchier in defeat, more on that in #5 - missed a little runner in the lane.  Bosh came flying through the paint, beat two Celtics and Udonis Haslem to the ball, ripped it out of the air, landed, maybe traveled, maybe stepped out of bounds, stabilized himself, and delivered the ball to a guard.  After KJ missed a jumper, Dwyane Wade grabbed the offensive rebound and called timeout.  Miami was running almost exclusively Wade-KJ pick-and-rolls in the fourth quarter trying to get them runs into the lane, and did it again, but with a twist - this time, after the screen, Bosh flashed from the weakside into the paint on a designed cut, KJ him with a perfect pass, and instead of hesitating, as he sometimes does, Bosh flipped in a little jump hook for a 7 point lead.  Boston came down, and with their season on the line, tried to post Kevin Garnett against KJ James.  KJ tried to front Garnett, and knew Garnett was going to try to shove him up the lane when the ball was floated over the top, so he leaned back and resisted with everything he had.  Still, as Rondo released the pass, KG got a good lick in on KJ (if there was one play in this series that worked every time, it was this play - refs, for whatever reason, just decided KG was going to be allowed to shove his defender up the lane on every entry pass).  It looked like a sure layup...except, while the ball was in the air, Chris Bosh alertly darted across from the weakside and picked the pass off!  Down the other end, Wade got middle and made a floater over Paul Pierce, Heat by 9 with 3:30 to play.  Celtics called timeout, ran their best set, Rondo drove, tried to shoot a floater - and Chris Bosh blocked it!  Miami pushed down to the other end, Wade drove, took a bump from Bass, and made the floater and the free throw to end the game.  Chris Bosh!  Rebounding!  Moving off the ball and finishing with, well, panache!  Stealing the ball and blocking shots!  What has this imposter done with the real Chris Bosh?  Where was the statue defense?  We knew he could shoot - but this is what we have wanted from him all along!  This is the most incredible player transformation since last year's Boston series saw the emergence of Playoff James Jones!...I think if we learned something tonight - besides that Chris Bosh may, indeed, have a pulse - it's that if Bosh had been healthy, in all likelihood, Miami would have killed Boston in this series, like they did in the second round last year. Bosh outplayed Garnett tonight, as he did last season.  People made a big deal of the Celtics heart and experience in this series - and I agree, they battle - but the dropoff for Miami was so severe without Bosh.  It changes everything they do on the offensive end, and they simply don't have another tall guy who can play - makes a huge difference...

3) KJ James was the best player on the court again by a mile.  He didn't have a great shooting night with the jumper - only 9-21 from the floor - but he worked his way to the line for 17 free throws (but missed 5 - ugggh).  In fourth quarter, when it mattered most, he attacked the rim, flushed a couple of dunks, grabbed some key defensive rebounds, and had his only two assists of the game: sweet drive-and-kick to Bosh for one of his triples, and the laser to the cutting Bosh for the jump hook.  Overall, 31 points and 12 boards for KJ.  He scored 25 or more in every game of the series - again, don't get all excited, this isn't that unusual, it has been done before: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar in 1974, and Elgin Baylor in 1962.  KJ just played one of the best regular seasons of all-time, and has followed it with one of the best post-seasons of all-time.  Still, his greatest challenge still looms: Kevin Durant and OKC, who have been individually and collectively frightening during this post-season.  Don't know how Miami is going to deal with them.  Happy to have a shot, though.

4) Dwyane Wade couldn't have been worse in the first half - he was atrocious.  He kept kind of "posting up" 23 feet from the basket, with a defender in between him and the ball, screaming for a pass, then Almario Vernard "Emcee" Chalmers or KJ would throw the pass, it would get intercepted since a basketball can't, like, magically float through a defender's arm, and the Celtics would go down and lay it in.  When he saw that wasn't working, he started going out to the top of the key to get the ball, then he would throw a lazy floater somewhere, which would get picked off and, again, the Celtics would go down and lay it in.  The Heat trailed by 7 at the half - it was so painful to think Miami was going to lose because the team's all-time hero was throwing up all over himself.  But in the second half, he righted himself - made two mid-range jumpers, and along with Almario Vernard "Emcee" Chalmers, who started the third quarter by making three driving layups over, around, and past a veryyy creaky-looking Kevin Garnett, and some timely shooting by Shane Battier (4-9 on triples on the night), Miami hauled itself back into the game.  Wade started the fourth quarter by splitting a double team and dunking, and the aforementioned two driving floaters put the game away.  9 in the fourth for Dwyane to finish with 23, 6 and 6.  Dwyane's getting old enough that you can start to reflect on his career a little bit.  It's his third trip to the Finals - a lot of guys, even stars, don't make it that many times.  He won the title and the Finals MVP in 2006 with probably the greatest individual Finals performance in the history of the league.  He's - easily - the most beloved guy in the history of his franchise.  Again, not a lot of players can say that - at most, there's only one per team.  It's been an amazing career so far - would love to see him add one more title.  But even if he doesn't, it's been so much fun having him on the team - and tonight, the way he battled back from such a terrible start, just gave us all one more reason to appreciate him.

5) Well, here in #5, I come not to bury Doucheball, but to praise it.  Okay, actually, that's a total lie, I would love to bury it, if at all possible.  But one of the things about Doucheball is that it keeps coming backLast year was supposed to be their swan song!  What happened to that?  There were a few douchey moments during the game tonight: Paul Pierce held Dwyane Wade down on the floor for an entire offensive possession after Wade dove on the floor for a loose ball; Rondo tried to get into it with Wade, then KJ, then intentionally walked through KJ's legs while KJ was hanging on the rim looking for space to land after a dunk; Doc Rivers, as per usual, whined his way through the entire game, arguing every call, even ones his players didn't contest - he is embarrassing to watch - Jesus, Doc Rivers, you're a grown-ass man; and Pierce took a completely pointless hard foul on Dwyane Wade with only 30 seconds to go.  But the douchiest of moves came by Rondo and Garnett as the final seconds wound off the clock - they left the bench and walked up the tunnel with the game still going on, eschewing the customary post-series handshakes.  They aren't considered social deviants for nothing.  By leaving the court early, they aren't just being sore losers, but bailing on their own teammates, the ones who stayed on the court to congratulate the Heat - even Paul Pierce was a gracious loser, embracing each member of the Heat and wishing them luck (and of course Connecticut's Ray Allen was classy in defeat - that goes without saying - love you, boy, come finish your career down here).  Rondo, as B.Minutos noted, also tried to throw a towel on the camera following him up the tunnel, but missed the shot - for a guy who is supposed to be such an offensive maestro, his team only scored 6 points in the last 9 minutes of an elimination game.  This kid is amongst the least-likable personalities in the entire league - my brother, A.Minutos, dubbed him "the Dick Cheney of the NBA," and speculated that he also probably "accidentally" shot someone in the face at some point.  However, on a scale of 1-10, the Celtics overall level of douchiness in this series was really only about a 2 - for such a close series, it was amazingly free of contentious moments, considering the opposition.  I mean, it's hard to believe, but the Celtics, for all intents and purposes, got out-douched by the Indiana Pacers...Wonder if the C's lack of aggression had anything to do with the fact that Udonis Haslem nearly decapitated Indiana's Tyler Hansbrough in the last round.  Udonis showed he wasn't playing around - think the Celtics might have decided to stand down a little this time?  Studio gangsters!...Anyways, barring some kind of miracle return (again), I think it is safe to say we have seen the last of doucheball from this group of Celtics. Miami smoked them in 5 last year, and probably would have done the same this year had Bosh been available earlier in the series - the two games he actually played significant minutes, the Heat won pretty easily.   They just aren't good enough anymore.  Doucheball is dead; long live Doucheball!

6) How do we know that Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Killer is any good?  Haven't seen Stephen A. Smith say one thing about it...
Well, the season, and the blog, live on.  I'm going to let you in on a little secret - I wrote the farewell post for the season for #6 before Thursday night's Game 6, just in case we lost.  I did it!  I reversed jinxed us into a series win!  Again!  The Finals, against what is sure to be a pretty heavily-favored OKC squad, starts Tuesday.  They are a totally different team than Boston - an explosive, athletic, youthful ball of fire.  Should be fun.  And by "fun," I mean "totally and completely excruciating."  If you need me before then, I'll be wearing my Ray Allen Milwaukee Bucks jersey and trying to forget the nightmare of the last 5 seasons he had to spend with Garnett and Rondo.  He's a free agent now, and one can only imagine how quickly he wants to get away from those two.  He's spent his entire career trying to conduct himself in a professional manner - having to spend 9 months a year with those two unlikable maniacs must be incredibly challenging.  So good to be free, Ray, so good to be free!  See you down here next year, Ray.  And see all the rest of you jokers on Tuesday in Oklahoma City!  Wherever that is!