Hey, so remember how I’ve been complaining about how bad the East playoffs have been? Well, for one night at least, they decided to change that. Now I get to be all excited about it. Let’s do it.
Miami Heat 115, Boston Celtics 111: Heat lead series 2-0
Quick question: when was the last time you saw someone put up a line resembling 44-8-10-3 (points-rebounds-assists-steals) in a playoff game? Please don’t respond with video game stats.
I’m guessing it wasn’t too recently. And regardless of when it was, I’m guessing that their team won, most likely by a substantial amount. And yet Rajon Rondo put up that 44-8-10-3 line for the Celtics against the Heat, and they somehow lost because Boston’s supporting cast fell apart and the Heat are just really good.
LeBron James countered Rondo’s brilliance by living at the free throw line and finished with 34-10-7 for his troubles. Mario Chalmers and Dwyane Wade both had nice games, although their periods of individual excellence only slightly overlapped — Chalmers was good in the first half and the early third quarter, Wade was good from that point on — and finished with 22-4-6 and 23-6-4, respectively. Udonis Haslem had a double-double off the bench with 13 points and 11 rebounds and hit some big shots down the stretch and everyone else managed to mostly avoid sucking.
On the Celtics side, nobody seemed totally willing to step up, aside from Rondo. Ray Allen proved he was still alive by hitting the game-tying three with 30 seconds remaining in regulation and finished with 13 points, Kevin Garnett had 18 points and 8 rebounds but shot just 6/18 from the field, and Paul Pierce had 21 but was 8/19 from the floor and 0/5 from three. He also fouled out with a couple of minutes left in regulation and was sorely missed in overtime. Nobody else did anything worth mentioning.
The most incredible part of Rondo’s performance? He never left the floor, logging all 53 minutes of game time, somehow managing to shoot 16/24 from the field while doing so. Yes, he struggled a bit in the third quarter, but you try playing every minute of an NBA playoff game in fifth gear and see how you feel. He deserves a medal for this performance, despite the loss.
But I think we’re learning that the Heat are simply better than the Celtics. Pierce, Allen and Garnett are old, and even when Rondo totally takes over the game, LBJ and Wade can overcome him. Unless two or three of them get locked in at the same time, the Celtics are in trouble. And I don’t see that happening.
Thursday, May 31st: