|Details on LeBron’s injury emerge||04.29.10 at 12:52 pm ET|
Reports out of Cleveland indicate that LeBron James has a strain in his right elbow and a bone bruise. He is not expected to miss any time in the upcoming series with the Celtics. As Brian Windhorst of the Plain Dealer put it on his Twitter account: “In technical terms it is a “bone bruise of his olecranon.” In lay terms, it means he banged his elbow and it is sore.”
|Celtics-Cavs series schedule set||04.29.10 at 10:30 am ET|
The NBA has set the dates for the Celtics‘ conference semifinal series with the Cavaliers. Most of the times are still to be determined. The Celtics get a bit of a break with three days off between Games 2 and 3.
Game 1: Saturday, May 1: Boston at Cleveland, Time to be determined
Game 2: Monday, May 3: Boston at Cleveland, TBD
Game 3: Friday, May 7: Cleveland at Boston, TBD
Game 4: Sunday, May 9: Cleveland at Boston, 3:30
*Game 5: Tuesday, May 11: Boston at Cleveland, TBD
*Game 6: Thursday, May 13: Cleveland at Boston, TBD
*Game 7: Sunday, May 16: Boston at Cleveland, 3:30
* if necessary
|Wade’s D on Rondo ‘destructive’||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.
|Ray Allen’s historic misses||04.25.10 at 7:01 pm ET|
MIAMI — Ray Allen missed three free throws in the span of 46 seconds in Game 4 against the Heat Sunday afternoon. Just how much of an aberration was it? The last time Allen missed that many was Dec. 26, 2006 when he was playing for the Sonics. Allen actually missed four in that game, but it has never happened in a Celtic uniform.
“I felt like I had a bad rhythm,” Allen said. “I missed one the last game and the ball looks on line and it catches the bad part of the rim. For me, I look at it as a fluke when it does that. Sometimes I’m just unlucky. I just got to get back in [the gym] and shoot a couple hundred. It’s just a part of the game. The ball goes and goes out. Obviously you want it to go in. Sometimes there’s just no explanation for it.”
|Rebounding is key for Celtics||04.25.10 at 12:55 pm ET|
MIAMI — If there has been one change from the regular season Celtics to the playoff Celtics it has been their improvement on the glass. The Celtics dominated the Heat in Game 2 on the boards, and while they backslid in the first half of Game 3, their second half rebounding was a big key in getting the win.
“Going into the playoffs you would say the one point of emphasis over everything has been rebounding,” Doc Rivers said. “It’s all we talk about. We showed rebounding on film yesterday. It’s been very important to us.”
The Celtics have also done better on the offensive glass, an area where they struggled this season and for good reason. It’s not part of their gameplan.
“We don’t focus hard on offeneive rebounds,” Rivers said. “If you’re under there and you can get it, then you get it. Honestly, we’d rather for you to get back on defense so they can’t score in transition. The fact that were’re getting them is good. Numbers suggest that if you take away transition baskets you’ll save more points than you will get by rtying to get offensive rebounds.”
|Heat coach: Wade is going to go||04.25.10 at 11:31 am ET|
MIAMI — Not that there was much mystery, but Miami coach Erik Spoelstra indicated that Dwyane Wade is good to go for Game 4. Wade suffered painful crams in his left leg at the end of Game 3 and was not on the floor for Paul Pierce’s buzzer beater.
“He’s going to go,” Spoelstra said. “I don’t know if he’s 100 percent, but he feels much better. He’s been cleared. I know one thing. He was not going to miss a minute of this game.”
Spoelstra was asked if he would have to limit Wade’s minutes and he laughed.
“We’ll try to be smart with it, but you try to pace him,” he said. “I’m sure if I try to take him out of the game he’ll be spitting expletives at me.”
Spoelstra also addressed his team’s mindset heading into a possible elimination game. The Heat have played the Celtics six times this season (counting the regular season) and have lost all six. But there is hope in the fact that they have had the lead in five of those games in the fourth quarter.
“At some point there has to be a breakthrough,” Spoelstra said. “This is not about the other games. This is about today.”
|Rivers on Rondo: He’s been our Varitek||04.24.10 at 5:13 pm ET|
Through three games Rondo has averaged just 11.7 points, but that never tells the full story with him. He’s also getting 10 assists a nights and 6.3 rebounds, but again, numbers can’t define Rondo.
Rather, it’s been his ability to run the offense for over 40 minutes a night that has been the catalyst for the Celtics offensive execution.
“He’s been terrific,” Doc Rivers said. “When everyone was injured, literally, Rondo had to do a lot of scoring. But since Ray and Paul and Kevin [Garnett] are back and in rhythm, he’s more of the facilitator. But he does the best job of a guy you could ask to do it. He’s been huge in this series.”
Take the closing minute of Game 3. On the possession before Pierce’s jumper, Rondo had two options at his disposal: Allen coming off a flare screen with Garnett, or Pierce on the opposite side. He chose Allen for a corner 3 and it was a great look, it just didn’t go in.
Heat coach Erik Spolestra had some media people shaking their heads after Game 3 when he said that the reason the Celtics were so tough to defend is because they have so many crunch-time options. In other words, didn’t he know the final play was going to Pierce? Well, no. He didn’t. See the previous possession.
It’s that decision-making that has lifted Rondo’s game into the upper stratosphere of elite point guards.
“He’s light years [ahead of where he was], but a lot of that is just age, maturity,” Rivers said. “The other part of it is system. He’s been in the same system his entire career. I thought Game 3 was the best play-calling game in his career. He was like [Jason] Varitek as far as calling the right pitch. He was phenomenal. That’s where he’s improved. He know what I’m thinking. He’ll call a play and you can sit down and it’s terrific.”
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