Boston Celtics: 2011Round2Game2
The Celtics aided that spurt by missing six straight shots. Which begs the question, was Celtics coach Doc Rivers happy with the offensive looks his team generated as Miami's lead ballooned to 14?
The Celtics went to sixth man Glen Davis on each of the first two plays, but he missed a pair of bunnies before Ray Allen misfired on a 3-pointer, and Jermaine O'Neal botched a dunk. Kevin Garnett and Rajon Rondo each missed on long jumpers soon after as well.
"I liked some of the stuff," said Rivers. "I didn’t like the first play. The call was to go somewhere else. Listen, you trust your players, they saw something, they thought Baby was deep. The other one, Paul [Pierce] had an [isolation], but Baby cut, and he threw the ball, he did the right thing. I actually thought that one, there was a lot of contact, and he went across his arms, and there was a no-call, so other than that, I didn’t mind what we did."
Let's take a closer look (with TNT screenshots):
On the first trip down after Chalmers' 3-pointer put Miami out front, 83-80, Ray Allen lobbed the ball to Davis, who had an post-up opportunity on Chris Bosh. That led to a baseline drive, but Davis couldn't convert the layup. At the other end, Dwyane Wade drew a foul and made two free throws for a five-point cushion.
After taking just nine field goal attempts in Sunday's Game 1 defeat, Celtics head coach Doc Rivers expected at least 20 shots from Garnett on Tuesday, as part of a concerted effort to make him one of Boston's primary options on offense.
But that was supposed to just come within the flow of a game. No one could predict what Rivers coined as the "circus" that would ensue as the game went along. Paul Pierce (strained Achilles), Ray Allen (bruised chest), and Rajon Rondo (sore lower back) all had to either leave the game or retreat to the locker room at one point to nurse their respective maladies, leaving an even heavier weight on Garnett's shoulders as the lone Celtics star still relatively close to 100 percent.
It became apparent early on, though, that it simply wasn't Garnett's night.
The rundown: Injury update on Pierce, Rondo | Green quiet after 1st | Layup Line
Three Boston Celtics starters battled injuries in the Game 2 loss to the Miami Heat on Tuesday night, though none appear serious enough to jeopardize their availability for Saturday’s Game 3.
Captain Paul Pierce suffered a strained left Achilles that forced him to the locker room midway through the first quarter, Ray Allen needed to be taken to the locker room for a spell with a bruised chest after getting elbowed by LeBron James and Rajon Rondo battled through a tight back that wouldn't loosen up for much of the game.
With three days off before Saturday's Game 3, the injuries don't appear to be a concern for the Celtics, who plan to rest Wednesday before getting back on the court Thursday.
"I'm day-to-day right now," said Pierce, who returned to the game in the second quarter after getting treatment. "We're just going to see how it feels the next couple of days. When you strain your Achilles, every step is like a slight, little pain in there. But it actually loosened up when I got back in there, got up and down a few times, and it really didn't affect me the rest of the game."
Pierce finished with 13 points on 5-of-11 shooting with five rebounds over 32:32.
"I don’t think anybody's ever 100 percent at this time of year. It's just part of the game,” Said Allen, who had 7 points on 2 of 7 shooting over 34 minutes. “It's been a long year, you just deal with it. Whatever ails you I'm sure [the Heat] have the same issues, everybody has them. You use the off days to get your body better.”
Rondo wore a wrap around his lower back before the game and during intermission to keep his back from tightening up. He said after Tuesday's loss that he was fine, and even though Rivers told the media that Rondo asked to come out because of the back early in the fourth quarter, Rondo said it was due to fatigue. He did get some assistance while being stretched out on the baseline during the break.
"No, I was tired at the time," Rondo said. Asked about the wrap he noted, "I was just trying to stay warm."
Rondo finished with a team-high 20 points on 7-of-16 shooting with 12 assists and 6 rebounds over 41:42. According to ESPN Stats and Info, it was the eighth career playoff game that he's scored 20+ points and dished out 10+ assists.
What's more, Rondo scored or assisted on 52.7 percent of the Celtics' points (48-of-91) in Game 2, and the Celtics were 12-of-19 shooting (63.2 percent) off Rondo passes. Off all other passes, Boston was a mere 15-of-44 shooting (34.1 percent).
HOW THE GAME WAS WON
LeBron James scored a game-high 35 points on 14-of-25 shooting, while Dwyane Wade kicked in 27 more to pace Miami. Rajon Rondo led five Boston players in double figures with 20 points (to go with 12 assists). Kevin Garnett put up 20 shots and chipped in 16 points while keying Boston's rally to tie the game in the fourth quarter, but went quiet late.
Down seven entering the final quarter, the Celtics rallied to tie the game at 80 with 7:09 to go. But Miami embarked on a 14-0 run ignited by a Mario Chalmers 3-pointer followed by seven straight points from James. While the Celtics missed six straight shots, the Heat lived at the charity stripe, and a freebie by Chris Bosh with 3:28 remaining had the Heat on top 94-80.
STAT OF THE GAME
The Miami Thrice were a combined 27-of-54 shooting for 80 points, while Boston's Big Three were 15-of-37 shooting for 36 points.
Jeff Green could have occupied this spot, scoring 10 points while Paul Pierce went to the locker room to ice a foot strain in the first quarter. But Green finished with 11 points and gave up too many buckets on the defensive end.
WHAT IT MEANS
The Celtics have never faced a 2-0 deficit in the Big Three era and now have the daunting task of winning four of the next five games in order to extend their season. That's even more daunting given the opponent, a Miami team that hasn't blinked when Boston had made its runs. Going home to the Garden will help, but there's virtually no margin for error now with the Celtics.
Pierce appeared hobbled midway through the first quarter and the Celtics called timeout with 5:05 to play in the frame to get him off the court. Pierce immediately went to the locker room with trainer Ed Lacerte, where he iced the strain.
Pierce missed the final seven minutes of Sunday's Game 1 loss after being ejected for earning two technical fouls in a 59-second span.
(Update: Pierce returned to the floor with 7:41 to play in the second quarter).
Forsberg tackled the latest on Shaquille O'Neal, whether Paul Pierce would have made a difference in the final seven minutes of Game 1, and key areas to watch in Tuesday's tilt.
Click HERE to read the full transcript.
The Celtics knew they couldn't afford to turn the ball over against the Heat. They said so themselves in the three practices days leading up to Sunday's tilt. They knew the likes of LeBron James and Dwyane Wade would corral their miscues and feast on them. They knew they would have an immensely difficult time vanquishing the Heat if they handed them extra possession after extra possession.
But knowing didn't stop them from doing it. The C's handed the ball over 14 times -- certainly not an egregious amount, but many were the unforced, make-you-want-to-pull-your-hair-out miscues that Boston cannot afford over the course of this series. They were the ones that were mostly preventable. Worse off, they came at inopportune times, particularly in the first frame when the Celtics were attempting to establish a rhythm and a pace after having not played for a whole week, and over the final seven minutes, when the C's were attempting to claw back from a double-digit deficit without Paul Pierce who picked up two technical fouls earlier in the period and was ejected.
Miami simply played the part everyone knew it would play: It took Boston's handouts and converted them into 26 points.
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PAYNE'S THREE THINGS TO WATCH
- Rondo's Revenge: Rajon Rondo was expected to dominate this series for the Celtics from the outset of Game 1, but he failed to establish any semblance of a rhythm or pace in the first half of Sunday's 99-90 loss before foul trouble glued him to the bench for the majority of the second quarter. While he responded well enough in the second half to still flirt with a triple-double (eight points, seven rebounds, seven assists), he has to reignite his role as the engine to the Celtics' offense early in tonight's game and emerge as the clear winner of the point guard matchup. In addition, he has to limit his turnovers, particularly in the fourth quarter. On Sunday, he handed the ball over five times in the final period when the Celtics were attempting to claw back from what was at one point a 19-point deficit.
- Truth of the Matter: Tensions were supposed to run high throughout this series, and Game 1 didn't disappoint, as Paul Pierce picked up two technical fouls in less than a minute and was ejected with seven minutes to play. With Pierce back in the fold tonight, will the Heat try to bait him into losing his cool again? It'll be on Pierce to not only respond with a strong performance on the floor, but to also maintain his composure should things get chippy again like they did on Sunday.
- Paging Kevin Garnett: Kevin Garnett did his job defensively in Sunday's Game 1 loss: Making Chris Bosh feel like a non-factor on offense by limiting him to seven points on 3-of-10 shooting. But it felt like Garnett was just as uninvolved in Boston's offensive schemes, as he registered just six points on 3-of-9 shooting. The Garnett-Bosh matchup is one the Celtics will most likely have to win if they hope to advance past the Heat, and the C's need KG to be more aggressive with his shot selection, particularly in the post.
MIAMI (AP) -- Paul Pierce is from Los Angeles, so he knows a thing or do about Hollywood.
And he knows he'll have to act better if the Boston Celtics are going to avoid getting into a quick two-game hole in their Eastern Conference semifinal series against the Miami Heat.
A day after getting ejected from Boston's Game 1 loss, Pierce acknowledged that his actions were "selfish" and that he needed to do a better job keeping his composure. Nonetheless, he still believes that he was more victim than aggressor during the two plays in which he got technical fouls that sent him to the locker room with 7 minutes left in Miami's 99-90 win.
Game 2 is Tuesday, and Pierce isn't sure if the physicality both teams offered Sunday would carry over.
"This is not a movie or a script," Pierce said. "It's hard to really say what's going to happen game in, game out."
Read the full preview HERE.
“He looked great [Monday], went through the whole practice,” said Rivers. “He was phenomenal, actually... But by the end of practice, he was struggling walking, so we’ll see. I would say Game 3 is becoming likely. Game 2, we’re not sure yet, but I doubt it.”
Rivers said O’Neal participated in his first scrimmage work since aggravating the right calf/Achilles injury while playing 5½ minutes against the Detroit Pistons on April 3. It’s the only game action he’s logged since Feb. 1.
“He can [run during the scrimmage], but it’s the after-effects of doing it,” said Rivers. “Just watching him walk on the bus, even this morning, the recovery time is just tough for him.”
The Celtics have the benefit of three full offdays between Tuesday’s Game 2 in Miami and Saturday’s Game 3 in Boston, which would allow the 39-year-old center more time to heal. But Rivers stressed again that, as soon as O’Neal is ready, he’s going to put him on the floor and believes he’ll be an impact player.
“Hell, if he told me today he can play, and [team trainer] Eddie [Lacerte] and them said he could play, I’d have no problem playing him,” said Rivers. “At the end of the day, unlike all of us, he’s big. You know what I mean? When we play him, he’s still going to be big. He’s still going to be bigger than anybody on the floor. And if that’s for two minutes or 40 minutes, you’re still big. Height matters.”
Click HERE to read the full story.
CORAL GABLES, Fla. -- The Celtics' offensive game plan at the start of Sunday's Game 1 seemed pretty obvious. On each of their first two possessions, Boston lobbed the ball to its big men for post-up situations. No surprise, the Celtics believe they have an exploitable matchup up front against the Heat.
But, according to Synergy Sports, Boston generated shots on only eight more post-up plays the rest of the night, settling instead for mostly perimeter shots that, beyond those taken by Ray Allen, didn't fall with much consistency. Kevin Garnett finished with six points on 3-of-9 shooting and Celtics coach Doc Rivers made it a point at Monday's off-day practice to stress the need to get Garnett more touches, particularly around the basket.
"I've got to do a better job of getting Kevin involved," Rivers said. "Kevin is one of our featured scorers and I didn’t think we did a good job with him at all."
Rivers scolded his team for getting away from post situations at halftime Sunday, feeling the team let Chris Bosh off the hook after picking up an early foul. And he kept scolding them at film review on Monday.
"I made that very clear at halftime. We got Bosh an early foul, and then we go seven straight plays before we decided to look back to that same spot," Rivers said. "That’s not like us to do that. That was a mistake."
Garnett, brilliant in the first round against New York while averaging a double-double, is likely to get the ball early and often in Game 2, and the Celtics need him to be aggressive, even when his shots aren't falling.
"I think we've just got to try to tell him to be aggressive when he gets the ball in the post," point guard Rajon Rondo said. "He's an unselfish guy, but we want him to be aggressive and try to take advantage of his matchup."
And how can the Celtics get him to do that? "It's on him," Rondo said.
Realizing it was a premature toot, O'Neal, who had been on the floor earlier while putting his practice gear on and getting stretched out, ducked back into an adjoining room where he was working out with strength and conditioning coach Bryan Doo. But one thing was obvious from the sequence: Shaq appeared ready to do as much as his ailing right calf/Achilles will allow hoping to convince coach Doc Rivers to let him play in Tuesday's Game 2 of an Eastern Conference semifinal series against the Miami Heat.
Rivers said before the session that O'Neal's ability to play Tuesday likely rests on his soreness level after Monday's activity.
"That's the whole key, whatever we do today, if his body doesn't react well, you just can't play him," said Rivers. "I'm not going to take that risk for him."
But if O'Neal's body does react well to Monday's activity, and if the Celtics decide to forego the three offdays of rest that await before Saturday's Game 3, the 39-year-old center could very well be back on the floor Tuesday night at American Airlines Arena.
Rivers did caution that O'Neal hasn't engaged in much running, a hurdle he quite obviously has to clear to get back into game action.
"About as much as you and I have been running and I'm just going to take a gamble and say that's very little," Rivers joked with a reporter when asked how much O'Neal has been able to run recently. "I know from my point, I don’t know about you. He’s run a little bit. We have that [treadmill] in our facility that takes all the weight off, so he’s running on that every day. I don’t know if that counts, but he’s been doing a little running."
Rivers did reiterate that O'Neal is "feeling much better," and seems to be maintaining the optimism that he gushed with Sunday when he suggested that O'Neal would be back on the floor by Saturday's Game 3 in Boston.
O'Neal has logged only 5½ minutes of game action since Feb. 1.
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