The Heat Top the Celtics in overtime 98-90. Miami leads series 3-1.
I feel sorry for the Celtics. They’re a good team that plays a solid game but, with every year that passes their age begins to show more and more. On top of their age the fact that they can never stay healthy at crucial points in playoff runs. Last year Kendrick Perkins sustained an injury before game seven of their series against the Lakers in the NBA finals last year. This year Rajon Rondo’s elbow did that thing where it went the wrong way (blech!) and that was that. Rondo showed his toughness and grit and was actually effective in the early parts of the game but, once the Heat realized that he could only dribble with one hand and that his movement was greatly limited they took advantage. Boston turned the ball over 16 times which is actually one less time than Miami did but the Heat scored more points off of turnovers. Anytime Lebron James or Dwayne Wade can get the ball in the open court it is almost always automatic points.
Anytime the Heat can production out of their big three. They can give themselves a chance in any game. Even the ones where they don’t execute very well. Bosh, Wade, and Lebron combined for 83 points. Chris Bosh played really well. He scored at key moments in the game. He would end with 20 points on 8 of 17 shooting and 12 rebounds. The Heat outscored the Celtics in the paint 48-32.
Paul Pierce led the way for Boston with 27 points on 10 of 20 shooting, 8 rebounds, and 3 assists. Kevin Garnett however had an awful night. He scored just 7 points on 1 of 10 shooting. When Boston’s big four can play better than Miami’s big three then they will always win the series. This is a big reason I couldn’t pick Boston to win. They played too inconsistently and I didn’t think that all four players could keep up the intensity for four games against the Heat.
Miami has a chance to finish off the Celtics which of course doesn’t guarantee a thing.
The Thunder Survive Triple Overtime Against the Grizzlies. Series is tied 2-2.
Kevin Durant had 35 points, 6 of which he scored in the third overtime. This game was bizarre, it was strong at some points and poorly executed at others. The Grizzlies led by as much a 18 points in the second quarter. They allowed Oklahoma City to piece together a few runs that gave them life as the crawled back into the ball game after starting slowly.
The Thunder have a problem. They have a shooting guard in a point guards body. I’m referring of course to Russell Westbrook. I don’t know what to think about the guy. On the one hand he is very talented and makes tremendous plays but, on the other hand he’s a shoot-first point guard on a team full of shooters, whom he often ignores. The Thunder as a team attempted 95 shots and Westbrook who scored 40 points attempted 33 of them. That’s 35% of his teams shots. Durant scored 35 points attempting 13 less shots than Westbrook did. It was weird to watch because there were whole stretches of game where Durant didn’t get any looks. He was in the game and the ball would pass through the offense and he wouldn’t touch it. Durant who only shot one free throw in game one was able to get to the line and shoot 16 of 18 from the line.
Three overtimes is a lot for anybody to take and the Grizzlies looked gassed. They also had foul trouble that took point guard Mike Conley and O.J. Mayo from them. Mike Conley who I like made a boneheaded play on offense late in the game, attempting a three with the Grizzlies down by one point and possessing a timeout, that was crucial play in the game. Conley then had to use his last foul. The reason this game was so exciting was the fact that everybody on both sides made big shots when they needed to. Memphis did need a few more big shots though, just to even be in the game. Zach Randolph who was 9 of 25 scoring 34 points and grabbing 16 rebounds and Marc Gasol who was 11 of 20 for 26 points, became non factors in the offense once the overtimes were on the way. It’s clear they were tired. They battled all game long but the end of regulation became a guards game. The quick were able to beat the big bodies up and down the floor.
Other guys who need to be mentioned would be rookie point guard Greivis Vasquez who came off the bench for Conley and scored 14 points including a clutch three pointer to send the game into overtime number two. Nick Collison provided OKC with hustle plays that resulted in points and shot opportunities taken away from Memphis.
I feel like this series has what it takes to go seven games. These teams are close and hungry. It’s by far my favorite series of the playoffs so far.