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Sunday
Feb132011

Game today

Looking forward to the Celtics/Heat game today at 1:00. The Celtics have to feel like they're going into this one as the underdogs, despite owning the Heat earlier in the year. The Heat have become more comfortable with each other and have overtaken the Celtics in the standings. The Celtics have limped around lately, and badly need to get healthy. One of Boston's strengths going into the season was that they had a lot of depth, but right now, they're very thin with the two O'Neals out, Delonte West likely only to be able to play a few minutes, Nate Robinson day-to-day, and Marquise Daniels out. 

Enough of the nuts and bolts. I think this game will be a chance for the Heat to put some distance between them and the Celtics. A big win here might signal to the Celtics that the should just rest up and try to get ready for a playoff series. And LeBron has always been a little stronger as a front runner. Anyway, the Celts have a lot to gain if they can hang with the Heat in their depleted state. Really, the game is set up for Miami to roll, and Doc Rivers would really show his coaching skill if he can get the Celts to perform today. The Celts have to stay focused on the task at hand, each possession, each play on offense and defense. Everyone has injuries at some point, and the Celts have to do the best they can with the players they have. If they think long-term, I think they'll lose today. That wouldn't be the end of the world, but it might be the end of their chances at home court in the playoffs.

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After 1 quarter: Heat up 20-15. Neither team has shot very well. The Heat came out shaky, but quickly recovered. They looked poised, and the Celtics were a little off on their shots. They had plenty of opportunities.

Heat coach emphasized: We'll play better, we're settling in.

Celtics coaches were pleased with increased effort in defense in the early second quarter.

Second quarter: Heat are all over the place, lots of terrible passes. Celtics have increased the pressure, but have also missed some wide open layups. Their focus isn't quite there. Overall though, they have to be pleased to have the lead (by 3) with a few minutes left in the half. 

Third Quarter:

The game is getting more physical, with some hard screens set by both teams. The Celtics are having their point guard Rajon Rondo cover LeBron James, and the Heat don't look like they know quite how to react yet.

The Heat lost their cool a little and came out on the short end of an exchange where Dwayne Wade ended up going after Celtics big man Kevin Garnett. The call could have gone either way, but it looked to me like Wade went extra hard to hit Garnett as they were setting up to rebound. He got called for it, and the Celtics lead increased to 13 on the next possession. 

Fourth Quarter:

The Heat came storming back and pulled to within 2 points with just a couple of minutes left. It's always interesting to see this situation, as there's a big difference psychologically if the trailing team is able to come back and tie the game. In this case, the teams traded possessions and the Celtics were able to stay ahead. 

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I think overall, this was a good win for the Celtics, but not a backbreaker for the Heat. The Celtics are now 3-0 against Miami this year, and this win was a good one in that they were missing a lot of players, and one of their best players had a terrible offensive game (Paul Pierce was 0-10) while the Heat had key shooter Mike Miller for the first time against the Celtics. That said, the Heat still hung right with the Celtics in Boston and were just a shot or two away from winning. 

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It was fun to watch Celtic reserve Vonn Wafer in this game. He made some good plays, and he made some pretty silly mistakes. You could see on his face that he felt a lot of pressure getting minutes in such a big game, especially in his big reactions when he made mistakes. If he focuses on staying calm through good and bad, he'll benefit from this experience.

 

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