It occurs to me that perhaps our expectations were a bit high going into this year’s playoffs. I mean, last year was compelling and exciting and dramatic and pretty much everything we could have hoped for. So while it wasn’t unreasonable for us to expect something similar this year, it was probably unrealistic.
To be fair, injuries played a large part in that. Rather than getting Bulls-Celtics in the second round and a Bulls-Heat rematch in the conference finals, we got stuck with some awful Bulls-Sixers and Sixers-Celtics games. And on the Western side, the Thunder and Spurs simply being on another level compared to the rest of the conference has prevented too much excitement, although Thunder-Lakers was exemplary despite only going five games.
Ah, well. No reason to get caught up in what could have been. Let’s get to what is.
Miami Heat 93, Boston Celtics 79: Heat lead series 1-0
I don’t remember who it was, but someone tweeted last night that it’s hard not to overreact to game one, especially when it confirms your suspicions about the series. This is how I feel after this game one, as it confirmed everything I suspected about the series going in. The Celtics struggled to score without Rajon Rondo at the top of his game and couldn’t stop LeBron James or Dwyane Wade.
Of course, there are some reasons for optimism on the Celtics side. Boston starters not named Kevin Garnett shot a combined 19/56 from the field and 3/9 from the free throw line. I personally doubt that keeps up, even if the improvement is only marginal. The Celtics also got hammered on the boards. If they can even out the rebound battle a bit, that should help going forward as well.
On the other hand, there are reasons to worry as well. The Heat went just 5/25 from three point land, including a ghastly 2/15 mark from Mario Chalmers and Shane Battier. You know, the two guys who are in the starting lineup largely because they’re supposed to be able to knock down open threes? Yeah, those guys. Admittedly, at least to some extent, the Celtics made a point of trying to run the Heat off the three point line, but there were still plenty of open looks that simply didn’t go down. And the Heat still won by 14, even with the abysmal shooting. That’s a bad sign, to say the least.
Meanwhile, LeBron continues to remind everyone why he’s the MVP, as he put up 32 points and 13 rebounds in game one to go along with 3 blocks. Dwyane Wade chipped in 22 and 7 assists on 8/13 from the field and Shane Battier — despite his shooting struggles — had a double-double with 10 points and 10 rebounds.
So, yeah. This is why I predicted this would be a short series. It may only be game one, but I don’t see how anything changes significantly enough for the Celtics to make a series of it.
Tuesday, May 29th:
Oklahoma City Thunder at San Antonio Spurs Game 2, 7:30 PM, TNT