Ray Allen and Glen Davis, starting in place of the suspended Kevin Garnett, combined to rock the Heat for 48 points and lead the Celtics in a devastating destruction of Miami at the TD Garden, 106-77. It was an impressive display of everything that has been missing since Christmas, perhaps even all season.
Both Ray and Glen played extremely well as the Celtics slowly pulled away in the second quarter. The newly minted Green Machine scored 21 straight points and led 49-33 at half time. With the Allen/Davis 1-2 punch the lead eventually got as high as 33 points. Kevin Garnett was never needed.
The blow out got so bad that TNT switched to the Portland/Phoenix game early in the 4th quarter. I don’t even know what happened in the 4th.
Glen Davis was highly active all game attacking the middle and eventually off set 4 Jermaine O’Neal first quarter blocks of his shot to produce 23 points on 7 of 14 shooting, including 9 of 11 foul shots, 8 rebounds, an assists and a steal. Davis was drawing attention inside opening up things outside for Ray.
Ray Allen started cautiously as he was often being trapped, but eventually found the sweet spot on the left baseline three point line. He drilled 5 of 6 three pointers in shooting clinic the third quarter from there. Ray finished 7 of 9 from the arc and led the Celtics with 25 points on 9 of 13 overall, with 5 rebounds and 3 assists.
Rajon Rondo made it difficult for Miami point guard Carlos Arroyo to bring the ball up, while dishing out 12 assists of his own to go with 7 rebounds, and 8 points.
The Celtics dominated in nearly every aspect for a confidence shattering 2-0 series lead while their suffocating defense keyed on Miami superstar Dwyane Wade. No one else was able to pick up the slack for Miami and they look woefully like a one man team. The Heat have been unable to break 80 points nor 40% in shooting in either game.
The Boston Celtic players intimated all season that they were basically bored and that things would change come playoff time. They said don’t worry about that 27-27 record after Christmas Day. It is beginning to look like they were right.
After working all year to get Kevin Garnett as healthy as possible, as well as numerous other Celtic injuries healed, they played with head shaking inconsistency, lack of focus, and even of competitiveness right until the season ended. This Celtic team’s feelings were hurt or angered by the amount of doubters among the Celtic faithful. They felt, especially Garnett, that they were the Celtic faithless.
Flip the Switch
Most fans and pundits felt that you can’t just ‘flip the switch’ come playoff time.
Celtic fans and naysayers everywhere… the switch has been flipped.
Starting in the second quarter of game one, this Celtic team’s defensive effort has held Miami to 124 points total over the last 7 quarters, an average of 17.7 points a quarter.
On top of that, the Celtics controlled both boards, out rebounding the Heat 50-33 overall and had more offensive rebounds 10 to 6. Both were issues all season with the Celtics dead last in offensive rebounding this season.
Two normally deliberate offenses, the Celtics had 27 fast break points to the Heats 2.
I can’t see this Miami team recovering from such a beat down to come back and win the series. But I do expect Dwyane Wade and the Heat to get the calls at home in Miami. The only thing in doubt at this point is the length of the series and it looks like it could be a short one.
That would be good for an aging Celtic team that could use the extra rest. Any saving of energy in this series will be valuable in the next one.
Davis Gets Up for the Playoffs
Though Davis went through his now normal struggle to get the ball up inside early, (he was 3 of 9 shooting at one point with 5 shots blocked), the Celtics continued to go to him and he never got down nor lost his hoop aggression. It eventually paid off, as he was able to put in a running baby hook, a number of lay ups and got to the line numerous times. He made his first 7 foul shots before finishing 9 of 11.
Just as important was Davis’ defense on Heat power forward Michael Beasley as well as Glen’s team defense. The entire Celtic team was locked in as a unit on defense as we have rarely seen since ‘before Garnett’s injury’.
Perkins’ Great Game
Kendrick Perkins great job in the middle will be lost among the ink spilled on Davis and Ray Allen. But he was probably more instrumental to the solid defensive effort than any other Celtic. Kendrick has been in recovery himself from leg and foot injuries. He looked very good in this contest.
The Celtics were up a ridiculous 41 points over the Heat in the mere 26:33 minutes that Perkins was on the floor.
Kendrick took game honors with 9 rebounds (3 offensive), and added 13 points on 5 of 8 shooting, 4 assists, with 2 blocks. He (primarily) held Jermaine O’Neal to 2 points on 1 of 10 shooting on the night. O’Neal was just 3 of 14 in the first game for a combined 4 of 24 shooting in the series so far.
Miami’s attempts to trade O’Neal and efforts to find a solid big man and point guard in the off season were made evident as to why so far in this series.
My only question right now is… if this series continues along the same road, could it have an effect on a Wade decision to return to Miami next season? He has a player option for $17 mil. to return for one year. He could opt out and see what offers come up.
Yes, Pat Riley is persuasive. Yes, the Heat will have plenty of money to sign a max player to play with Wade and another player around $9-10 million. Yes, Wade likes Miami.
But, with only Beasley, Daequan Cook and Mario Chalmers signed, who knows what a pathetic showing, if it continues, could do? Just a thought.
After the Quentin Richardson incident at the end of the last game, then calling Pierce and Garnett ‘actresses’, the expected Paul Pierce fireworks never materialized.
Paul was just 3 of 8 for 13 points with 4 rebounds, 2 assists and a block. Pierce was content to hold down arch-nemesis Q-Rich to just 2 of 7 shooting and 5 points on the evening. As Butch Cassidy once said, “Just so long as we come out ahead.”
So, the Celtic starting five, maligned and under performing for much of the year, put on a dominating exhibition against a team that finished the season 18-4.
Rasheed Wallace was whistled for a dubious technical shortly after he first appeared, for pushing Jamal Magliore when the two were entangled, and played 21 largely ineffectual minutes. But he appeared to get hurt at one point, was slow getting back and doubled over once he got back. That may have impacted his game
Sheed scored 6 points on 2 of 6 shooting with 5 rebounds while defending Jermaine O’Neal well.
Shelden Williams played 18 solid minutes garnering 2 points and 6 rebounds.
Tony Allen had a quiet, but effective 17 minutes with 4 points, 4 rebounds, 2 steals and an assist. Tony continues to know his role and plays it well.
Dwyane Wade led Miami with 29 points on 11 of 18 shooting and 5 of 8 three pointers.
The Celtics look like a new team. They played an extremely impressive game. The next test is to do it in Miami on Friday.