It was the LeBron James and Ray Allen show for the final 22 minutes of basketball for the Miami Heat.
That’s not getting a win against the Boston Celtics, even if they are without perennial Heat-killer Rajon Rondo. Because even though Boston’s offense wasn’t nearly as efficient as it would have been, their defense grinded the Heat’s one-dimensional, predictable offense into a standstill in their 100-98 win. The Heat shot less than 41 percent and received little assistance from anyone outside of James and Allen.
While James had a monster 34 points, 16 rebounds and seven assists in 52 minutes and Allen finished with 21 points and five rebounds off the bench, there wasn’t much assistance from anywhere else.
Dwyane Wade had 17 points on 20 shots to accompany seven assists and six turnovers and was held scoreless for the final 16 minutes. He was given the opportunity to convert the game-winner in the first overtime, but instead took an off-balanced jumper following an attempt to pump-fake Paul Pierce into a foul. Pierce bit, but Wade froze up and took an ill-advised 20-footer that wasn’t close.
He also missed a wide-open floater that turned into fastbreak points for Paul Pierce to give the Celtics the go-ahead points in the second overtime. However, Wade was trusted to facilitate a play for the potential game-tying/winning shot in the final six seconds. Instead, the play never developed and Shane Battier took a 30-foot jumper that came up short and wide-right.
LeBron James hit a three-pointer to the tie game and send it into overtime. It’s the second time in the past three games he has done so.
That was Miami’s offense. All day. Give credit to the Celtics defense, but there was absolutely no creativity involved in Miami’s execution. Nearly every play after the first quarter ended up resulting in a jump shot with little attempt to create a play that resulted in an easy two points near the basket. Miami had 46 points in the paint, but those sort of plays became an afterthought come second half and overtime.
Not too many easy looks are going to come against this Boston team, and the Heat didn’t do themselves any favors with how poorly the offense was run. Too many isolations were run and the plays out of timeouts were dreadful and not too well thought out, usually resulting in a missed jumper as evidenced by the Heat’s 40 percent shooting. Not even LeBron could manage to shoot near his average, finishing 14-of-31 from the field.
Surprising enough, it was the Heat’s ability to get to offensive boards that kept them alive: a 17-8 advantage that was heralded by Chris Bosh’s game-high five.
Bosh had 16 rebounds in total, but was, once again, forgotten in the second half and only finished with 16 points in 7-of-12 shooting. Despite hitting 5-of-6 for 10 points in the early going, Miami checked Bosh off as absent for the rest of the way, instead relying on him for the occasional desperation jumper. It was another case of the Heat failing to maximize the potential of having a shooter like Bosh on the floor.
The Celtics had no problem feeding their big man, however. Kevin Garnett had 24 points on 19 shots to go along with 11 rebounds and three blocks. As you can tell by the fact that he only had two fouls in 45 minutes, the Heat didn’t exactly attempt to go at him all too much. Paul Pierce needed 16 shots for 17 points and Jason Terry and Jeff Green combined for 24 points on 20 shots off the bench.
Everyone else on Boston? Quiet for the most part. The defense for Miami was solid, but the offensive execution was their downfall. They shot 22 percent from beyond the arc, couldn’t make the few open shots they received, didn’t move the ball, and ran an embarrassingly low amount of plays that ended up resulting in a good shot. Somehow, LeBron ended up with the best three-point percentage on this team, converting 3-of-6.
Also, 20 turnovers and 19 assists.
An all-around questionable game. The Heat’s offense was abysmal compared to how well it was run against Detroit and Toronto (I can only wonder why) and Rashard Lewis played nine minutes just so he could miss two shots and commit a foul. Meanwhile, Mike Miller didn’t play a single second.
Perhaps the saddest statline came from Mario Chalmers. In a game where the Celtics were playing without Rondo, it seems that he may have had a more positive impact to Boston than Chalmers to the Heat. In 22 minutes, Chalmers missed all three of his shots, had two assists, committed four fouls and had three turnovers.
Yeah, this wasn’t fun. The show goes on against Brooklyn Tuesday.