|04.27.10 at 8:58 pm ET|
The Celtics lead the Heat by a score of 71-65 after the third quarter.
For the first five minutes of the quarter it looked like this series was on life support. When Kendrick Perkins scored on a sweet pass from Rajon Rondo at 6:56 the Celtics had a 67-46 lead. The Perkins score capped a 19-8 run for the Celtics, a stretch that included a trio of three-pointers from Ray Allen (now with 13 points in the game). It sure seemed at the time that Miami was more than willing to exit stage left and do so quietly.
But the Heat (OK, and by the Heat I mean Dwyane Wade) showed serious heart, ending the quarter on a 19-4 run. Wade scored 10 points in the quarter and leads all players with 21 points. Mario Chalmers, to be fair, also stepped up, scoring nine points. Chalmers has 15 points off the bench, seven more than the entire Celtics reserve unit.
Paul Pierce and Rajon Rondo each have 16 points to pace the Celtics. The Celtics have hit just 12-of-34 shots since the end of the first quarter.
|04.27.10 at 8:17 pm ET|
The Celtics are just 24 minutes away from ending this series, leading the Heat by a score of 48-38 at the half.
Paul Pierce (13 points) and Rajon Rondo (12 points, eight rebounds, four steals and three assists) have led the Celtics charge. Also a strong first half for Kendrick Perkins, who finished the opening 24 with six points, five rebounds and two blocks.
Dwyane Wade leads the Heat with 11 points, but has shot only 4-for-11 and has had trouble getting to the basket. Miami is shooting just 34.9 percent from the floor and have missed all eight three-point attempts.
|04.27.10 at 7:37 pm ET|
The Celtics finished the opening quarter on a 13-4 run to grab a 29-21 lead. Paul Pierce led the Celtics in scoring with nine points, while Rajon Rondo added eight points, four rebounds and two assists.
Boston shot 67 percent from the floor and passed the ball brilliantly, collecting 11 assists on 14 field goals.
|04.27.10 at 6:59 pm ET|
It doesn’t matter which team has the 3-1 edge in the series — both the Celtics and Heat are playing with desperation.
The obvious desperation lies in the Heat locker room. Facing elimination, the team is not getting ahead of themselves and looking forward to a series swing. They are zoned in on a necessary win.
‘Oh no, without a doubt this is a must win,’ Quentin Richardson said. ‘That’s the just reality of it. You win or you go home. Everyone knows that it’s a must win for us. But at the same time, that’s not putting any added pressure on us. That’s the situation. You go out and you play, and you play the game as hard as you can and you leave everything out there. ‘
Even though the Celtics season is not on the line tonight, they are playing with the same sense of urgency as the Heat. They want to send the Heat home to Miami, not join them there for a Game 6.
‘We want to finish. It’s all about finishing,’ said Glen Davis. ‘We have an opportunity to finish and we’ve got to go out there and take it. They’re not going to give it to us. It’s not going to be handed to us. They’re not going to just lay down, we already know that.’
Both teams stressed the importance of jumping out first. Richardson said it is ‘kind of tricky’ for a team to impose their will on the road and noted the Heat will have to battle against the energy from the Celtics home crowd. Davis said the Celtics have to attack from the jumpball and play 48 minutes of hard basketball.
Whether they are up 3-1 or down 1-3, the Celtics and the Heat view Game 5 the same way.
‘I think playoffs are about playing with desperation and urgency,’ said Ray Allen. ‘You turn every switch you can in the playoffs to get a win, so I would expect both teams.’
|04.27.10 at 6:39 pm ET|
One of the elements of Miami’s Game 4 win was the defense Dwyane Wade played on Rajon Rondo late in the game. Actually defense isn’t the right word. Wade was assigned the task of guarding Rondo, but he gave him such a wide berth that he was able to roam the passing lanes and help on anyone who wanted to take it to the basket.
This has been done numerous times before, of course, most notably by Kobe Bryant in the 2008 Finals.
In truth, the Celtics expected to see Wade guarding Rondo much earlier in the series. Doc Rivers hinted before the playoffs even began that he figured that’s the way Miami would go. Now that the Heat are down to their last chance, the Celtics figure that they will see a lot of it in Game 5.
“We thought we’d see it much earlier,” Rivers said before the game. “They’ve used it in the fourth quarter and they’ve done it in special situations [end of the game, shot clock, out of bounds plays, etc]. Wade is really destructive when he’s guarding Rondo. He’s like a free safety. A very good safety.”
The reason Miami doesn’t go this route on every possession is that they need Wade to carry the load on the offensive end, as well. Although it should be noted that trying to follow Ray Allen around all those picks is not a lot of fun either.
Rondo was asked after Game 2 if he was surprised that he hadn’t seen Wade on him more and he just shrugged. “They’re having maybe four guys guard me,” he said at the time. “Dorrell Wright, [Carlos] Arroyo, [Mario] Chalmers, Wade. I don’t really care who guards me.”
Rondo destroyed Arroyo in Game 4, and Chalmers hasn’t fared much better. Wade would be Miami’s best option, but can the Heat really ask him to be the best player on both ends of the floor? If they do, Rivers wants Rondo and Kendrick Perkins to cut to the basket at every opportunity. They key, Rivers said, is for Rondo to stay aggressive, even if he doesn’t have the ball in his hands.
|04.27.10 at 2:01 pm ET|
WALTHAM — The next time Paul Pierce visits South Florida, he wants to be on a beach having fun in the sun.
“There’s a lot of urgency,” Pierce said. “We don’t want to go to Miami. Hopefully the next time I go to Miami, I’ll be on vacation.”
While there was a lot of focus on the 46 points Wade put up in Game 4 on Sunday, on 16-of-24 shooting from the field, Pierce said it’s Wade’s supporting cast of Quentin Richardson and Michael Beasley that must be contained. And that starts with him.
“Other guys like [Carlos] Arroyo and Beasley can’t have big games for them,” Pierce said. “Wade is going to have the ball most of the time. You have to expect him [Wade] to have big numbers because of that. It’s the other guys definitely we have to shut down.”
While Arroyo was held to just six points in 21 minutes, Richardson and Beasley combined for 35 points while making a disturbing 13-of-27 shots from the field. That’s the stat that concerned coach Doc Rivers afterward and it’s what the Celtics must be aware of in Game 5 if they are to avoid the pain of getting on a plane Wednesday for South Florida.
Kevin Garnett had a slightly different take on what will be needed against the Heat. Garnett wants everyone to remember they can’t win the game by themselves.
“I thought, for the most part, everybody wanted to get this settled in Miami and we were trying to do it with one shot instead of one pass,” Garnett said. “We were one step late on a lot of rotations. They threw a zone at us and we were all out of whack with that.”
|04.26.10 at 5:08 pm ET|
WALTHAM — Celtics coach Doc Rivers admitted on Monday that his team is not trying to stop Dwyane Wade from scoring, but he wants to see more urgency on defense. Wade scored 46 points and made 16-of-24 shots from the field as the Heat beat the Celtics, 101-92, in Game 4 in Miami on Sunday.
“If it were that easy, he wouldn’t be Dwyane Wade,” Rivers said. “If I can find a guy who can keep him in front of him, we’re signing him. Hopefully, Wyc [Grousbeck] has more money to give and we’re going to go get him. It’s going to be a team effort and one guy’s not guarding that guy.”
Rivers put his team through a two-hour session — split between video and on-court practice — on Monday. The Celtics host Miami on Tuesday at TD Garden, with a win sending Boston into the Eastern Conference semifinals.
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