The Boston Celtics scored 28 points in the second half which then led to four overtime points. 32 points in 29 minutes.
They still ended up winning. By winning 93-91 in overtime, the Celtics have come back to tie the series with a decisive game 5 set to take place in Miami on Tuesday. The series was 2-0 heading into Boston after a blowout and an overtime victory by the Heat.
The role’s have completely changed since Miami’s 14-point victory in game 1. The Heat no longer possess the firm chokehold they had on the Celtics necks. Boston has gradually worked its way back in this series thanks in part to a more efficiently run offense and playing defense right where it would hurt the Heat most–in the paint.
Game 4 started off with a game 3 look, but so much worse. The Celtics came firing on all cylinders and held a double-digit lead within the first five minutes. Behind Rajon Rondo, of course, the Celtics’ offense was run to perfection with Boston shooters getting open wherever they were comfortable.
Comfortable was the word of the first half for the Celtics; every shot they took in the first half was either close to the basket or wide-open. It was a result of great spacing, Rondo being allowed to do whatever he pleased and constant player movement. The Celtics were constantly setting screens for Rondo to get open.
The Heat’s defense was nonexistent. They applied no pressure, weak closeouts and allowed Boston to dictate the flow of the game early on, which was a similar reason as to why the Celtics won game 3 with such ease. It appeared that game 4 was heading that way, as Boston held a 61-47 lead going into the half.
That’s right. The Boston team who couldn’t score against Atlanta and Philadelphia scored 61 points in 24 minutes against arguably the NBA’s best defense. This isn’t about the Celtics just not liking the Heat, Miami just has a lot of matchup problems with Boston and are especially hurting without Chris Bosh.
Boston scored 34 of those points in the first quarter; they had 32 the entire second half and overtime and still managed to win. That’s what happens when you dig yourself into an early 18-point hole, shoot 71 percent on free throws give up 11 offensive rebounds to one of the worst rebounding teams in the NBA.
Also, fouls. Lots and lots of fouls. Fouls to both sides and fouls to key players. Paul Pierce was lost early on in overtime, but the officials decided to give the Celtics back their power-play advantage by calling LeBron James for his sixth personal on a 50/50, offensive foul.
Yes, the call was horrible. In fact, a lot of the calls/no-calls were horrible. Especially no-call’s like this one:
Boston ended up with 30 fouls to the Heat’s 28. Miami finished with 24 free throws to Boston’s 20. Miami at least had the statistical advantage in the categories dictated by officiating, but they certainly weren’t receiving the type of contact they were receiving in games 1 and 2.
James and Wade combined for 13 free throws. This comes a game after they combined to shoot five free throws in game 3. It was a completely different story in Miami as the two combined or 15 free throws in game 1 and 35 in game 2. It comes with Boston’s improved defensive pressure, but it could also be a direct result of the overreaction the officiating faced following game 2.
I’m not going to blame anything on officiating, however. Even with all the crappy calls and the 18-point deficit, Miami still had a chance to win. They worked to get the game tied up and with the final possession at the end of regulation. They saw it end like so many other game winning opportunities have ended before–with a miss.
The miss was a result of a Udonis Haslem fadeaway from 20 feet out. You know, because that’s the shot we want. The ball was originally given to Dwyane Wade and then passed out to LeBron James. James saw a triple-team late, dished it out to Haslem and threw up a horrendous miss that didn’t have a chance.
James received said pass with seven seconds remaining and he was still 25 feet away. These types of plays are the reason why the Heat are 1-for-10 in similar situations where they have the final possession at the end of regulation or overtime. All they do is run ISO’s that stay at least 15 feet from the basket or plays that have no rhyme or reason to them.
Why can’t plays like this occur once in awhile:
Ball and player movement! What a concept!
The play to end overtime was better, but equally as frustrating. Dwyane Wade had a wide-open three-pointer to end the game, but the 29 percent career three-point shooter rushed it and saw it come up short. It ended a disappointing overtime; one where the Heat only scored two points to Boston’s four.
LeBron James led the way for Miami, again, with a 29 point, six rebound and three assist outing. Although he did commit seven turnovers with three of those coming off of offensive fouls. His defense and mentality on offense became skewed as a result of him dealing with foul trouble in the fourth quarter.
James hadn’t fouled out of a postseason game in his career and had not been thrown out of a game for six fouls since 2008. I’ll leave that for your interpretation.
James got a few players to help. Dwyane Wade didn’t play too well adding 20 points on 22 shots, although he did make a few key shots in the third quarter to push Miami back into the game.
Mario Chalmers chipped in 12 points on 13 shots and Udonis Haslem had his best game of the year with 12 points and 17 rebounds in 36 minutes.
For the Celtics, Paul Pierce led the way with 23 points on 18 shots, Ray Allen hit 4-of-11 from three to finish with 16 points, Rajon Rondo had 15 points and 15 assists and Kevin Garnett finished with 17 points, 14 rebounds and five blocks.
Once again, I’m left looking at the disgrace of a free throw shooting by the Heat as the biggest reason why they lost. LeBron James can’t shoot 4-of-8 and Norris Cole can’t shoot 3-of-5, it’s just inexcusable. If James simply shoots his average from the line, the Heat walk away with a victory.
It’s been the case too many times. Either they’re going to start making free throws or we can hope that they’ll shoot 50 percent on each trip.
Boston looked positively drained in the second half. The life was sucked out of them after a frantic first half where they couldn’t miss. Even though they couldn’t consistently score for the next 29 minutes, the Heat couldn’t take advantage because they were playing offense just as badly and running horribly designed plays to end games.