The Miami HEAT are on the brink of elimination from the 2012 NBA Playoffs. Dropping game 5 at home, Miami is 2-3 down in the series, and will face what is possibly the toughest uphill battle since the big 3 was assembled.
Boston Celtics managed to rally and make game 5 a closely contested game, and then, as per usual, outplayed Miami in the clutch. Paul Pierce’s go-ahead 3 pointer at the end of the game was like a knife piercing (no pun intended) through the heart of all HEAT players and fans. No matter how hard Miami played, Boston always seemed to come up with the momentum shifting plays. Take, for example, the play when Wade came up with an amazing block, but Rondo managed to tap the loose ball to Pietrus in the corner, who drilled the three point shot. Boston came up in the clutch, and Miami didn’t.
Keys to the game
It’s simple at this point – win or go home. Play desperate, play hard and play as a team, or succumb to the pressure and face nationwide criticism, scrutiny and embarrassment.
It is important to understand the importance of this game, and the implications a game 6 loss would mean to the Miami Heat organisation. If Miami lose the Western Conference Finals, they would be taking a step back from a year ago. All excuses and circumstances would be rendered irrelevant. An exit against Boston would put Erik Spoelstra’s job in jeopardy, and the split of the big 3 might become a possibility. Even if the big 3 remains intact, Miami would obviously march into the next season as title contenders, but after failing to make the distance twice, you wonder if a minor role player shake up would be enough.
But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. If Miami goes on to win the next two games, and proceed to the finals, all of this would be forgotten. Going to Boston and pulling out a win will not be an easy feat, but this is the time for Miami to prove themselves. It is a golden opportunity to show the world that they are best when they face adversity and their backs are against a wall.
Chris Bosh made a comeback in game 5, and was effective. Despite some rust he put up 9 points and 7 boards in 14 minutes of play and looked quite solid. I get that he is coming off a tough injury, but I cannot for the life of me understand why Spoelstra didn’t play him in the 4th quarter. Coach Spo claimed he didn’t feel it would be fair to Bosh. Joel Anthony didn’t play a single minute. Ronny Turiaf likewise. Kevin Garnett went on a rampage going for 26 points on 11-20 shooting, and Boston won the game despite Rondo, Allen and Pierce combining for 26% shooting from the field on 43 shots. Spoelstra’s rotations have quite literally changed game to game, and you cannot expect any kind of consistency without the rotations being pretty much solid. Since Bosh played limited minutes, there was no one who could match up with Garnett. Doc Rivers on the other hand has made good adjustments throughout the series, and outcoached Erik Spoelstra on pretty much all fronts.
Chris Bosh will have to play big minutes. I don’t care if he is still rusty and recovering, he will need to play at least 30 minutes if Miami is going to have any chance to go to Boston and force a game 7.
It’s not as much about x’s and o’s at this point. It’s about effort, determination and willpower. If Game 6 turns out to be a close one, James will have to step up to the moment. No more driving into the teeth of the defense and throwing a terrible pass to Udonis Haslem on the last play of regulation. No more shrinking away from the big moment. It’s time for LeBron to step up and show everyone why he is the best player in the game. It’s time for Dwyane Wade to once again put his killer-instinct on display and come up with big shots.