Guess who had their second-best offensive output of the season last night? The Miami Heat. Zach Lowe of The Point Forward describes some of the promising artifacts buried beneath the rubble: "[I]f you look carefully, there were glimpses of what this team can be on offense ... All three stars, working together. It was there. You just had to look for it. Miami has to hope you won’t have to look so hard in April and May."
Kevin Pelton of Basketball Prospectus: 'We continue to see an issue I touched on in my Unfiltered piece on Utah's comeback win -- the inability of Erik Spoelstra to make both LeBron James and Dwyane Wade threats at the same time. Miami's fruitless fourth-quarter rally Thursday was almost entirely led by James, who finished with 35 points and nine assists, heading to the free throw line a remarkable 22 times. Wade, who suffered through a dreadful 2-of-12 shooting night and also turned the ball over six times, was largely a decoy during the final period. He spent much of his time spotting up in the corner, where opponents have little need to worry about a 29.3 percent career three-point shooter."
Kelly Dwyer of Ball Don't Lie writes that Ray Allen's shooting exhibition and Rajon Rondo's distributive genius aside, the Celtics' MVP on Thursday night was someone else: "Kevin Garnett, to me, was the key. Rajon Rondo may have gotten into the paint, and Ray Allen strolled his way into all manner of open looks (and eventual finishes), but KG was the man in charge as Boston pulled away, and stayed away during the first three quarters. He was everywhere, defensively, and earning the C's all sorts of extra possessions offensively. His help defense was superb, he was setting perfect back picks, and he made the difference. My MVP, even if two of his teammates outscored him, and another tallied 16 assists."
Raul Takahashi of Hot Hop Hoops: "For now, the challenge of defeating a previous NBA champion of such prideful pedigree has proven overwhelming. With the lack of an extensive playbook, mental accord, chemistry, knowledge of each other’s tendencies and the onerous balance of domination and defer, the Heat have a ways to go. All will come in time."
How does a shooter, especially one as supremely gifted as Allen, get himself free for so many good looks from beyond the arc? Some defenses, like Boston and the Lakers, flood one side of the floor fully knowing they're a little vulnerable a sniper on the weak side. Those teams bank on their instincts to guide them back to the ball if and when the offense tries to exploit them. Other defenses like San Antonio and, generally, Miami, favor a very disciplined "stay-at-home" approach, blanketing shooters along the 3-point line even if it means defenders are a little less available to help . Sebastian Pruiti of NBA Playbook illustrates with video how the Heat -- and Dwyane Wade in particular -- got caught watching the ball and broke faith from their preferred strategy. As Beckley Mason of HoopSpeak points out, it wasn't the usual steady diet of stagger screens for Allen.
The NBA is shooting 38.5 percent between 10-15 feet from the basket. The Celtics' on Thursday night? 81.9 percent (9 for 11).
The infinite number of ways the Heat were b-awful, including several unintentionally funny quotes from both the Heat and Celtics.
All the mishegas with Bosh's premium TV issues while living in Toronto. To reset the remark, Bosh made reference to the fact that his specific building didn't offer an NBA League Pass option. Anyone who has looked at apartments in Miami's glut of high-rises and needs League Pass has probably encountered the same problem. I have.