June 5, 2012; Miami, FL, USA; Boston Celtics small forward Paul Pierce (34) smiles during the second half in game five of the Eastern Conference finals against the Miami Heat of the 2012 NBA playoffs at American Airlines Arena. Boston won 94-90. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-US PRESSWIRE

NBA Roundhouse: June 5th, 2012

So I’m just going to come out and say it: I have no idea what’s going on in these playoffs. I thought I did, but the last two days…man.

Boston Celtics 94, Miami Heat 90: Celtics lead series 3-2

June 5, 2012; Miami, FL, USA; Miami Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra during the second half in game five of the Eastern Conference finals against the Boston Celtics of the 2012 NBA playoffs at American Airlines Arena. Boston won 94-90. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-US PRESSWIRE

Am I the only one who’s starting to get deja vu here? Both conference finals appear to be following the exact same script: commanding home win in game one, close game two with the home team barely prevailing, commanding home win in game three, close game four with home team pulling it out at the end, close road win in game five, with a dagger three coming from virtually identical spots at basically the same time in each game. Seriously. Watch James Harden’s three to clinch game five for the Thunder  and then watch Paul Pierce’s three to do the same thing for Boston. Also note Jeff Van Gundy’s immediate comparison of Pierce’s three to Harden’s.

This was a weird game throughout. Much like the previous night’s game five, the home team jumped out to an early lead before coughing it up, although it took longer for the Heat to cough their lead up than it did the Spurs. Then the road team built up a lead before subsequently blowing it before righting the ship at the end. Maybe I’m pushing it, but still. Surprisingly similar games.

LeBron James looked like he was going to have one of those games, where he explodes for 50 or something, in the first half, but faded in the second half and borderline disappeared for stretches of the fourth quarter. He finished with 30 points and 13 rebounds, but I have a feeling he’s going to get criticized for not doing more over the next few days. Sigh. I’m just gonna move on.

Dwyane Wade missed the first half, but finished with 27 points. However, he never looked engaged and on more than one occasion blatantly jogged back on defense, allowing Boston to score easily. He was directly involved in one of the two major highlights of the game, and indirectly in the other. He blocked Brandon Bass so hard Bass almost ceased to exist (Rondo tipped the loose ball to Mickael Pietrus in the corner for a three anyway, but still) and jogged back on defense in the other, allowing Kevin Garnett (26 points, 11 rebounds) to simply end James Jones. Oh, and then there was the fan who gave the Heat his blessing after the game. He was involved in that too, indirectly.

Anyway, this series has given me way more than I ever could have hoped. The games have been entertaining, if somewhat ugly at times, and the fact that the Celtics will at worst have forced a seventh game is just crazy to me. I had no idea how they’d be able to contain LeBron and Wade and didn’t know how they’d score either. But Rondo — this game aside — has done his thing, KG hopped in a time machine and has given Miami fits, averaging 22 points and 11 rebounds for the series, and Paul Pierce, Ray Allen and the Boston bench have done just enough to get by so far. Now they just have to close it, and they’ll get their chance this Thursday at home. I can’t wait.

Wednesday, June 6th: 

San Antonio Spurs at Oklahoma City Thunder Game 6, 8 PM, TNT

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