|Pierce, KG, Rivers on Glen Davis||04.28.10 at 1:54 am ET|
|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.
|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.”
|Wade suffers cramp||04.24.10 at 12:23 am ET|
MIAMI – Heat star Dwyane Wade suffered a cramp in his left leg and wasn’t on the court for Paul Pierce’s game-winner. That was about the only thing Wade wasn’t involved in for the Heat in their 100-98 Game 3 loss.
He played 43 minutes and scored 34 points on 26 shots, but late in the game he started to feel the effects of all his work. The good news for the Heat is that he should be ready to play in Game 4 Sunday.
“He just willed himself to continue to play all the way through to the end,” Miami coach Erik Spoelstra said. “Right now it’s just a cramp and he’s getting fluids. It should be something we can work out.”
With the score tied at 98, Wade pulled up for a 3-pointer instead of attacking the basket.
“It limited me in the last five minutes,” Wade said. “I wanted to attack and be more aggressive, but I knew that’s how it would have ended up. I had nothing. I was trying to fight through it and pass to my teammates. They hit some big shots, but it was very unfortunate. The basketball gods were with them on that one because I wasn’t able to put pressure on them at the end like I wanted to.”
“We learned that lesson the last time we were in Miami,” Rivers said. “You don’t fool around with Wade. He tends to steal it and go for layups.”
That was a reference to a regular season game when Wade stripped Ray Allen at the top of the key and went in for two points late in the game. The Celtics were able to rally to tie the game and went on to win it in overtime.
|Fast Break: Celtics – Heat||04.23.10 at 10:03 pm ET|
There was nothing Dwyane Wade could do to stop it. Just seconds earlier, he had to be helped off the court after falling to the ground grabbing his knee following a 3-point attempt. As he sat on the sidelines, Paul Pierce ran the clock down, patiently waiting, and struck just as time expired. Pierce drained the game-winning buzzer-beater to give the Celtics a 100-98 victory and a commanding 3-0 series lead.
First Quarter: Wade scored 15 points (6-9 FG, 3-3 FT) in the first quarter alone to give the Heat a 29-27 lead over the Celtics. Although the C’s trailed, they fought a more balanced attack. Paul Pierce led the team with 9 points, Rajon Rondo and Ray Allen had six apiece, and Kevin Garnett scored four. Defensively, Tony Allen, who contained Wade so well in Game 1, played just one minute during Wade’s performance in the first. The C’s were also outrebounded, 12-9.
Second Quarter: The first quarter was all Wade. In the second, he finally got some help. The Celtics jumped out on a 10-0 run over three minutes with Rondo leading the surge (he finished the half with a team-high 13 points). But Quentin Richardson stopped the damage with a 3-pointer and the Heat began their comeback. The Celtics were then outscored 15-7 and trailed, 49-48, at halftime. Wade went scoreless in seven minutes in the second, but the Heat’s bench outscored the Celtics reserves 23-6 in the first half to give them the edge.
Third Quarter: The Heat had the edge in the first two quarters, but the Celtics claimed the third. The C’s outscored the Heat, 32-23, to take a 80-72 lead going into the fourth. The Celtics went on an 11-2 run in the final 1:39, which was capped off with 3-pointer from Pierce with 1.7 seconds to go. The Celtics turnaround has been a team effort ‘ Allen (22 points), Pierce (21 points), Rondo (15 points), Garnett (12 points). Wade scored 13 in the quarter to lead all players with 28 points.
Fourth Quarter: The Celtics looked to put the game away as they got up by nine points. But it was Michael Beasley – not Wade – who dominated the fourth and got the Heat thisclose to a win. Beasley, who has struggled throughout the series, scored eight points in the fourth after scoring just eight in the first three quarters. The Heat went on a 16-6 run to reclaim the lead and the victory remained up for grabs until the very last second, literally.
Player of the Game: Pierce exemplified the meaning of a team captain and put the Celtics on his shoulders to hit the game-winning shot as time expired. He led the C’s with 32 points (11-23 FG, 4-10 3PG, 6-8 FT).
Turning Point: In what could be the turning point of the series, Wade injured his knee on a 3-point attempt. He fell to the ground and had to be helped off the court with 13 seconds left. There is no saying whether or not his presence on the court could have prevented Pierce from nailing the game-winner, but the potential of his injury has a major impact on Game 4 as the Heat face elimination on Sunday.
Up Next: The Celtics will fight to sweep the series on Sunday at 1pm in Game 4.
|Defending D Wade||04.16.10 at 5:25 pm ET|
However, if they are going win four over the next two weeks they know they have to do a better job of defending Wade.
“We’ve won the games but he’s been way too successful,” Doc Rivers said. “If he’s that successful in this playoff series it’s going to be a tough series. It’s not that he’s scoring 33.7, it’s that he’s shot over 50 percent. It’s that he shot 32 free throws. He’d had low turnovers and he’s had high assists. Other than that, I don’t know what else you want him to do. If he does all that then it will be one tough series for us.”
This is nothing new for the Celtics. Their entire scheme against the Magic, for example, is predicated on matching up Kendrick Perkins on Dwight Howard without help. If he scores 50 points that’s fine with the Celtics, provided the other Magic players don’t go off on their own.
But Wade is a different task because everything revolves around him.
“It’s a tough matchup,” Rivers said. “If it was easy he wouldn’t be Dwyane Wade. I think he’s a great offensive player, but what he’s really improved on is getting everyone else involved, as well. That’s the tough part. He’s a great ballhandling guard, he’s strong and he can pass.”
The Celtics said all the usual things about making Wade work harder for his shots, but it seems clear that they intend to devote a team-wide effort to try to neutralize him. That, and a healthy dose of Tony Allen.
“Try to contain him, just keep him off the foul line,” Tony Allen said. “If you can do that and have your help-side bigs and your help-side guards alert when he’s driving, I think it will be more of a team concept than one-on-one.”
Ray Allen is likely to start the game on Wade, and while it would be nice if he returned the favor and spent his time on the defensive end chasing Ray Allen around the numerous picks the Celtics set for him, that probably won’t be the case.
“If [Wade] guards [Rajon] Rondo, we probably anticipate that he will, then you still have to chase Rondo,” Rivers said. “Even though you use guys on Rondo so you can be the rover, that’s still work.”
Interestingly, Rondo will be matched up with Carlos Arroyo and Mario Chalmers who are more perimeter-oriented and thus he can help try to wreak havoc with his weakside ball-hawking skills, provided he can also recover in time to disrupt the shooters. “I think Rondo is the key to this series,” Kendrick Perkins said.
There will also be an onus on the big men, who will be tasked with stepping into the driving lanes when Wade goes to the basket.
“You have to show team defense first,” Perkins said. “Obviously he’s going to make plays. You can’t worry about if he’s making tough shots, make him work and all that, but at the same time it’s all about your pride.”
However they defend him, they know it won’t be easy.
“He’s quick, he’s aggressive and he’s a big guard,” Tony Allen said. “Therefore, that makes him Dwyane Wade.”
|A look back: Celtics vs. Heat||04.15.10 at 11:15 pm ET|
The Celtics and Heat will square off in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference playoffs on Saturday. The teams faced each other three times this season, with the Celtics sweeping the regular-season series. See how the Celtics got a 3-0 edge over the Heat heading into the postseason:
CELTICS 92, HEAT 85
Nov. 29, 2009, at Miami
How the Celtics won: Led by 24 points (11-12 FG) from Kevin Garnett, the Celtics starters led a balanced attack in this win over the Heat. Rajon Rondo (13 points, 11 assists) and Kendrick Perkins (14 points, 13 rebounds) recorded double-doubles; Paul Pierce added 15 points; and Ray Allen scored 11, including a key 3-pointer late in the fourth quarter. The C’s shut the Heat down from behind the arc (2-for-15). Michael Beasley was the only player to knock down a trey.
Wade watch: Dwyane Wade scored a game-high 27 points. He attempted 23 field goals, the same number as Garnett and Pierce combined. The Heat were also a team-low -14 with Wade on the court.
Key stat: Assists ‘ Celtics 21, Heat 12
After the game: Celtics 13-4, Heat 9-7
The Three-Pointer: Garnett enjoys a run of near perfection