By Raul Takahashi
Key to the Game – Snipers:
The Celtics’ long-range brigade has been steady this series, keeping games too close for comfort:
Game 1 saw Boston shoot lights out (12-24 .500%) from beyond-the-arc, but Miami was able to match (9-19 .474%), spacing the floor for the dueling banjos to go 10-for-11 (.909) inside 9 feet and setting the pace for the win.
Game 2 was not much different, with Boston shooting 6-11 (.545) and Miami steady with a 7-16 (.438) shooting performance.
Game 3 saw the Celtics stay above .500 for the 3rd time in a row, shooting 9-18 (.500) and cozily keeping the paint corralled while the Heat shot an appalling 5-23 (.217) and losing by 16.
Game 4 saw both teams crashing down with Boston shooting 5-16 (.313) and Miami outshining them with a 3-13 (.231) stinker. 2 of the 3 bombs came in overtime as James drained a contested one in front of the Celtics’ bench and Wade faded away another one in memory of Baron Davis’ legacy (wait, he still plays? ok).
Give credit to Boston’s defense for consciously shutting down James Jones, who started 5-7 in Game 1 but has waned off to a 3-9 performance in the last 3 games combined. Designated sniper Mike Miller is 1-for-5 and Bibby is 3-for-10 for the series. The best defense in the league is suffocating as is, but a solid outing from beyond-the-arc can give the Heat a balanced attack with enough breathing room to operate inside.
Monday’s victory putting Miami one game away from reaching the Conference Finals was equal parts survival of the fittest as it was the multi-dimensional process of physical, psychological, and social change, also known as ageing, of the Celtics. One play could’ve changed the momentum heading into the AAA, but as it stands, the Heat have the upper-hand and the Celtics are in survival mode, looking to unleash their veteran wit and hoping their limbs can execute what their minds can muster. If they buckle, it won’t be for lack of desire. Miami’s star power just continues to overwhelm the opposition, right on pace to take command of the rest of the league in this new era.
Where: American Airlines Arena 7:00 PM EST TNT
Referees: Scott Foster, Ron Garretson and Bill Spooner.
- Mike Bibby is having one of the least productive seasons of all-time.
- A victory would put the Heat in the Eastern Conference Finals for the 4th time in the franchise’s history. They lost in 1997, 2005, and went on to become champions in 2006.
- Miami is 30-3 when the Big Three score at least 75 points.
- 8 teams have come back to win a series being down 1-3.
- Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals will begin on Sunday if the Heat close the series tonight and Bulls do the same on Thursday.
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