NBA Playoff Recap: 5-12-11, The End of the Green Gang

The Heat Close Out the Celtics 97-87. Miami wins the series 4-1.

The Celtics, one of the great teams of the last decade, go out with a whimper. For most of the game it looked like they would be able to beat the Heat and hold on to force a game 6 back in Boston. They had the lead for most of the game. Miami looked a bit sluggish in the first half and ended the half down by two, being buoyed by the 23 first half points of Dwayne Wade. However in the long run Coach Spoelstra’ s plan payed off. He didn’t bother to put a man on Rondo. Because of Rondo’s elbow he couldn’t shoot the ball from distance. This allowed Miami to double-team Kevin Garnett and Jermaine O’ Neal.

Dwayne Wade and Lebron James both had 30 point games. Wade ended with 34 points on 13 of 19 shooting, 10 rebounds, 5 assists, and 4 steals. Wade played with a ton of energy led his team in hustle plays. On one play he blocked Garnett on one end of the floor and had a one man run out in which he was able to score on the other end.  His defensive and offensive effort helped keep the team in the game after the fail to start very well in the first quarter. Lebron James had 33 points shooting 11 of 20 (5 of 7 from three), 7 rebounds and 4 assists. I thought Lebron was relatively passive in this game. At least until the fourth quarter anyway. He settled for quite a few threes and I still like guys with Lebron’s abilities to cut to the basket. It forces a defense to pack in and then other players can have open shots but Lebron was content to shoot jumpers. In fairness to him though, he was making them.

Bosh also contributed. It’s not going to show up on the stat sheet as Bosh scored well below the rest of the big three. He was 4  of 9 from the field and scored 14 points and grabbed 11 rebounds. Bosh was a presence inside the paint. He actually stood his ground and defended the bucket. In games 1, 2, and 3 he didn’t do this. Garnett would move at him aggressively and it was clear he wanted no part of the contact and ferocity of Garnett. Last night Bosh stood his ground and changed shots.

The Celtics never really had a chance in this game once Paul Pierce got into early foul trouble. He picked up 2 early fouls in the first quarter and then another two in the second. Pierce could not play his style after that. Pierce had 12 points on 5 of 12 shooting.

With no Rondo and no Pierce the Heat should have been dominating this game. I give credit to Boston for putting up a fight and not laying down but this wasn’t their game to win. Garnett and Allen, who shot 6 of 12 for 18 points, were not going to win this game by themselves. Miami still has weaknesses and holes. If Chicago wins their series that could be a very interesting matchup. If Atlanta wins that could be good too but only if they limit their mistakes. Both of those teams I think will test the depth of Miami.

I just don’t want to see any more of this:

Boom! Thunder Crush the Grizzlies 99-72. Oklahoma City leads the series 3-2.

This game was a head scratcher to me. Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook both score under 20 points each and the Thunder win by 27 points? If you had told me that before this game started. Especially being one game removed from the recent overtime thriller. I might have tried to back hand some sense into you. I would have been wrong but, I would have done it.

When Oklahoma City’s bench players step up it turns OKC into a well rounded team. The Thunder had four players in double figures. Durant was 7 of 14 with 19 points and Westbrook was just 4 of 10 with 11 points. What really helped OKC out was the number from the whole team. Daequan Cook scored 18 and Nazr Mohammed scored 10. Serge Ibaka, Nick Collison, and James Harden had 9 points each. These are small number from an entire team. It’s hard to beat a team when they play like this. I’m interested in seeing as we move forward wether or not this was an anomaly or the true potential of this Thunder team.

Memphis just looked . . . bad. The Grizzlies looked like they were clearly still fatigued from the triple overtime game. Marc Gasol was really the only effective Grizzly. Tony Allen and Mike Conley were missing layups all night long. Zach Randolph was ineffective. He would score just 9 points. Everyone contributed but no one stepped up. The Thunder tightened up the defense in this game and none of the Memphis Grizzlies adapted.

After getting out to a quick start Memphis fizzled out. It was a terrible game and a tremendous beat down. If Memphis can pull themselves together when they go back to Fedex Forum they’ve got a punchers chance of winning a game 7.

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