When Kevin Garnett told LeBron James to “stay out of Celtics business,” it pretty much signaled the official end of the Miami Heat–Boston Celtics rivalry that ruled the NBA for the past three years — especially since Garnett donned a Brooklyn Nets jersey when he said it.
His departure from Boston — along with Doc Rivers, Paul Pierce and Jason Terry — meant the end of an era of the two teams mean mugging and jockeying for playoff positioning. Yet coach Erik Spoelstra still proclaimed before the game that “You still see green, so that never changes.”
Ultimately, I don’t think that he meant seeing Jeff Green drain a fading walk-off 3-pointer from the Ray Allen corner; but thanks to Miami’s constant dance with danger, he had a chance.
The Heat kicked things off by blowing a 27-17 first quarter lead. However, the real problem was that they came out like they were only interested in playing on one end of the floor, instead of flying around the court to get stops. It’s like they were asleep, allowing Boston to beat them up and down the court on made baskets. They even had an unknown rookie, Phil Pressey, outrunning their transition defense and having the teams going score for score.
Oh, and giving up 60 points on 60 percent shooting at the half did not help.
Essentially, the one bright spot for the future was Michael Beasley continuing to abuse matchups by blowing past the Boston bigs, catching alley-oops and banging in jumpers. The spark plug had 10 points on seven shots in eight minutes, but there wasn’t enough of what Spoelstra considers a good cosmic balance.
“This game,” Spoelstra said to the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, “always has an energy and a karma about it, and we did too many things where we did not deserve to win this game at the end.”
Compound that with Dwyane Wade’s decision to miss a free throw with 0.6 seconds left instead of sinking it to put the Heat up by three, and you have the perfect recipe for blowing a shot at resting LeBron in what should have been a blowout.
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