NBA Playoff Recap: Round 2, 5-3-11

Heat down the Celtics 102-91. Miami leads series 2-0.

Has anybody seen Paul Pierce? I could’ve sworn he forgot to show up for the game today. He and his team are old and banged up and this series is over. While I hate to pour dirt on a team’s coffin while they’re playing a series that is far from over if Miami takes a game in Boston, that’s the ball game. I feel this way for a number of reasons. I felt like the defense and subsequent transition offense of Miami was grossly underrated. People felt like Boston was going to dominate because of their half court style but as I mentioned before in earlier posts, the Celtics have not been taking care of the basketball. Any mistake made with basketball almost always results in Miami points. I would say its a Heat fast break but really its just Lebron and Wade running out with their devastating size, speed, and strength any defender unlucky enough to be in the wake of that train is just going to end up in a poster.

Miami’s big three played better than Boston’s big four. That’s what this game boiled down to in my mind. Neither team was really brilliant off of the bench, though Jeff Green and Delonte West did play well. Rondo had a great game but he was the only Celtic that was effective in any way. Rondo had 20 points on 7 of 16 shooting and had 12 assists. Kevin Garnett was far less efficient, he scored 16 points but was 8 of 20 shooting to get them. Pierce was in a funk most of the game, he only got the free throw line once and ended the game with 13 points.

Miami got next to no production from their bench. It didn’t matter however as Chris Bosh, Lebron James, and Dwayne Wade combined for 80 of their team’s 102 points. The Heat are on a roll right now against a team that they match up very well against. This series is not indicative of some of the weaknesses that the Heat have or any of Boston’s strengths. Miami doesn’t play well from behind and they haven’t had to. Boston likes to play from the low post but for some reason they aren’t or they can’t. As a result Miami has been dominating this series.

The Thunder Slap the Grizzlies Back 111-102. Series tied 1-1.

I was listening to my local sports station and the guys mentioned that Memphis had a penchant for slapping bullies. When you slap a bully you often find out that he’s not as tough as he says he is but, sometimes the bully slaps you back. Last night that’s exactly what Oklahoma City did. In game 1 the Grizzlies’ Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph combined for 54 points and outscored the Thunder in the paint 52-38. Last night however the Thunder won the paint battle 38-34 and Gasol and Randolph combined for 25 points. OKC beefed up their interior defense and didn’t allow themselves to be pushed around. Their big men Kendrick Perkins, Nick Collison, and Serge Ibaka all together had 12 defensive rebounds. This took away second chance points from the Grizzlies, something they got a lot of in game 1.

Because the Thunder would not let him get in a rhythm Randolph scored 15 points on 2 of 13 shooting. He did make 11 of his 12 free throw attempts. Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook scored a lot of points, as per usual, but they got some help last night from their bench led by James Harden and his 21 points, 5 assists, and 3 steals. Eric Maynor added fuel to the fire as the game got out of reach from Memphis with his 15 points. Maynor shot 3 of 4 from long range.

Grizzlies head coach Lionel Hollins said, “The thing that stood out to me is how badly their bench outscored our bench.” As it turns out that was the key to this game. The Thunder bench outscored the Grizzlies bench 48-32. When Oklahoma City’s bench plays like that, they’re are one of the hardest teams in the league to beat.

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