Wake up with the Celtics  and your daily dose of Irish Coffee ‘¦
The more I hear from the Heat locker room and see from them on the court, the more confidence I have that they’ll cave the first opportunity they get. If the Celtics throw the first punch, it could be a knockout.
I fully expect the Heat to advance to Round 2, whether or not they blow another close-out opportunity on Wednesday night. Beyond that? I just can’t see them winning four times in a seven-game series against the Celtics.
Why? Listen to the types of statements the Heat’s stars have made in the last few days alone …
There’s this  from Dwyane Wade : “The starting unit is not that [high energy] kind of lineup, and we understand that. But we do have to start off better, so we’ve got to do different things, myself and LeBron. We’ve got to be the ones to put the effort in those guys.”
I didn’t realize you could just put effort in people. I wish they did that at City Hall, so I didn’t have to wait in lines all day there. News flash Dwyane: It’s not that your other teammates aren’t trying — they’re just not that good.
This from LeBron James : “Throughout me and D-Wade’s career, we have always been kind of feel out the game first and then go from there. The both of us are going to play with more effort, more aggression and not feel the game out as much to start the game and see how that works, because our first quarters haven’t been the best.”
James hasn’t been putting forth his best effort? Forgive me for being naive, but don’t most guys play full-tilt at all times in the playoffs? Do you think Kevin Garnett  has to say, “Maybe I should start playing with more effort”?
And this  from Chris Bosh: “We’re going to have to trust each other.”
Isn’t trust something that’s built over the course of the preseason and regular season? It’s not like the Heat made any big midseason moves, as the Celtics did; 95 percent of their roster is the same as it was in training camp.
And that brings me to the Heat’s on-court issues. It’s pretty clear at this point that in the final moments of close games, the Heat are Wade’s team. How do you think that sits with James and his ego? After all, as we’ve discussed here, he has Michael Jackson syndrome . He probably thinks the NBA is his league, nevermind the Heat being his team.
If Garnett is considered a fake tough guy, then what does that make the Heat? The Fake Tough Team. James is the same guy who lost it when Jermaine O’Neal  or Spencer Hawes  dared get in his way as he barreled his way to the basket — shoulder first . They’re playing scared.
Just listen to them. As Wade said , “We’re the Miami Heat , and we have everything to lose.” Actually, you don’t have anything to lose, because as currently constructed you haven’t won anything yet.
The Heat are frontrunners, just like their fans . Deliver the first blow, and they’ll flame out.
Lakers fans no longer have a leg to stand on, so to speak, when it comes to criticizing a superstar’s sincerity about an injury. Celtics fans can now point to Kobe Bryant‘s crutches  whenever the issue of Paul Pierce‘s wheelchair  is raised.
As Hornets coach Monty Williams told the Los Angeles Times  after losing to the Lakers in a critical Game 5, “That’s what he does. All that talk about his ankle, it didn’t look like his ankle was hurting.”
There were only two reasons Bryant wouldn’t undergo an MRI on his ankle when the Lakers medical staff wanted him to: 1) He anticipated bad news; or 2) He wanted to create some “Kobe Bryant is a warrior” discussion — a lame attempt at a “Michael Jordan with the flu “-type game. After Tuesday night, I’ll take Door No. 2.
DANNY AINGE: ‘IF JEFF GREEN  DOESN’T SCORE 12 POINTS, BIG DEAL’
It’s like clockwork: Another great Jackie MacMullan column , more insight on the Celtics. This time, MacMullan focused on Jeff Green‘s adjustment to a new role on a new team. The most interesting portion came during Celtics president Danny Ainge‘s discussion of Green’s J.D. Drew-like demeanor on the court …
“There’s great value in that. I know from my own career as I matured, I needed to calm down, to control some of that passion.
“It takes all types. Some players who don’t come in crazy ready when the game is going a thousand miles an hour end up with the ideal energy level in that situation.”
“First of all, I don’t know if he’s frustrated, but I know we’re asking him to assume a much harder role. Jeff isn’t just coming off the bench, he’s coming off behind Ray [Allen] and Paul, and when those guys are playing like they’re playing there won’t be that many opportunities.
“Then Jeff might find himself out there with KG and [Rajon] Rondo, so again, it might be hard for him to make contributions by scoring, which is how the fans and the media measure things.
“We can’t judge our bench by our stat line. You have to judge them by holding their own. Our starters are our team. They’re going to carry us.
“We know Baby [Glen Davis ], Delonte [West] and Green are good players. If Jeff Green doesn’t score 12 points, big deal.”
A CELTICS LAYUP DRILL
Speaking of being saturated with injury discussion, the Celtics announced  that Shaquille O’Neal  will not practice on Wednesday or Thursday. Doc Rivers  hopes Shaq can take the floor on Friday. …
Whether or not Shaq suits up for Game 1 in the second round, he’ll play anyone in a charity game . The current bid for a pick-up game against Shaq in Los Angeles this summer is set at $4,550. If that’s all it takes to get him to play, why don’t the C’s pony up. Oh, that’s right, they’re already paying $1.35 million. …
Celtics great Kevin McHale  is among the candidates who will interview for the open Rockets coaching position, according to Yahoo! Sports . Somewhat surprisingly, the report also claims “McHale is expected to be in the running for the Boston Celtics  coaching job, too, if Doc Rivers declines to sign a contract extension.” …
If the Heat defeat the 76ers in Game 5 or 6, the Celtics will play them on Sunday  in Miami. If by some miracle Philadelphia force a Game 7, the series will begin on Tuesday. …
Tickets for Games 3 and 4 of the Celtics’ second-round series will go on sale  Thursday. Pre-sale tix will be available starting at 10 a.m. …
- “We feel our bench is better than theirs, way deeper than theirs. We have to take advantage of that.”
- “They’re getting better, but you have to see how they play in the playoffs against a real Celtics basketball team.”