Tuesday, December 21, 2004
C's vs Heat: 100-108 - Shaq Who?
Well, the game started with the surprise announcement that Shaq wouldn't play with a calf injury. Somewhat good news for us, as we had no one who could legitimately stop him (Like anyone does). Too bad it ended up being irrelevant.
Doleac, who started in his place came out of the gate with 4 quick points. A Gary Payton drive made it 7-4 C's, but then an Eddie Jones 3pter tied it 7-7.
A Paul Pierce coast-to-coast drive induced a 17 all tie and a Miami timeout at 7:09. The Heat came out of the timeout charging hard. Eddie Jones had a thunderous dunk and with a Dwayne Wade layup in between, another quick score on a layup. GP had a nice drive to help answer, but in the ensueing possession, Damon Jones hit a 3pter and suddenly the Heat lead 23-19. Thankfully, that 4 point cushion would prove to be thier largest lead of the half.
Raef LaFrentz hit a 3 at 4:45 to make it 23-22 Miami and after a few more possessions, Paul Pierce hit another 3 to tie the game at 27 all with 3:00 left. Ricky Davis and Al Jefferson entered the game at 2:30 and Big Al scored on his first touch, a baby/soft hook at 2:17. PP left with 2 fouls at 2:02 and Tony Allen entered the game to immediately match up with Wade, as was the anticipated re-match.
Marcus Banks was part of a close to textbook fastbreak, when off a rebound he took 2 dribbles, passed it to GP just past the half court line, who then delivered an alley-oop to Raef with :52 secs left making the score 31-29 C's. Rasual Butler tied the game on a 3pter and at the end of 1: Boston 33 Miami 33.
Al Jefferson had a nice start to what was a tit for tat 2nd quarter, scoring a few times and playing aggressively on the offensive end. Unfortunately, Banks got schooled by Keyon Dooling several times for nice dunks.
With the Heat leading 43-39, a time out at 8:02 revealed that the C's only had 6 fastbreak points. Big Al had a nice follow up dunk on a Banks miss, which tied the game at 43 all at the 7:35 mark. Waltah got his first 2 at 6:39 which got the C's back to 45-46. Blount then tied it at 48 with 4:33 left. Jiri finally scored on a drive at 3:10 to make it 54-51. GP then scored on another drive at 2:46 for the C's largest lead of the game 56-51.
Something went down between GP and Udonis Haslem (who along with Wade, killed us tonight) during the final few minutes of the half and they spent the time yapping at each other, even to the point where the refs had to hold a jump ball until they shut up. Whatever it was, it inspired both players to end the half on high notes.
At the Half: 60-59 Celtics
1st half notes: Jiri couldn't hit sand if he fell off a camel. No one understands the concept of BOXING OUT. Blount was completely inept, which is a considerable point, given the abscence of Shaq.
Paul Pierce, who had no points, no FGA and only 4 mins played in the 2nd quarter, opened the 3rd with a 3 pter to make the Celtic lead 63-59. Wade continued to school everyone who guarded him (mostly Jiri, Allen and GP), scoring on 2 consecutive possessions and tied the game at 63.
At the 9:15 mark, Udonis Haslem officially had a double-double and the Heat had a 65-63 lead. Pierce then retied it at 65 and the C's started to get on a run and some easy buckets, forcing the Heat to call a timeout at 7:27 with the C's leading 71-67.
Again, the C's floundered after the timeout and Wade and Jones (2, 3pters) came out firing and the Heat took the lead 76-73 at the 5:29 mark.
Mark Blount continued his ineptitude, missing 2 layups in a row, which effectively had me swearing at the TV. Thankfully Ricky Davis hit a 3pter and tied it at 76.
Then things got bad: The Refs ejected Ricky Davis after he fouled Wade on a break away, calling not just a Flagrant foul, but a Flagrant 2 foul, which is an automatic ejection.
I want to spend some time talking about this, because the ejection was a pure, unadulterated, huge, stinking pile of dung. Yes, Wade was a step ahead and looking to dunk it, but this is Ricky Davis, who can elevate with anyone in the league. Wade went hard to the floor, but Davis was clearly trying to come up with a sensational block, not hurt Wade. There was nothing in this play that merited an ejection. A flagrant foul maybe, but not an ejection. I pretty much lost my cool with the situation, when the Sunshine Network Announcers likened the foul by RD on Wade to that of the recently $75,000 lighter in the pocket, Donovin Darius of the Carolina Panthers, who clothes-lined Packers Wide Reciever Robert Ferguson. Tommy Heinsohn can be pretty homeristic at times, but it's rare for him to ever go to the lengths these guys went.
Let's call this easily the turning point of the game. If you were watching and thought the C's were struggling before this, then the 4th quarter brought more of the bad than the good.
PS: Dwayne Wade had 12 pts in the 3rd quarter.
At the end of 3: 87-81 Heat
Al Jefferson continued to have his best game as a Celtic with a tip in to make it 87-83. That was followed up with a nice bit of passing by Big Al, Raef and Waltah, ending in a McCarty dunk making it 87-85. This was the closest the Celtics would get the rest of the way.
The Heat went on a 6 point run, making it 93-89 around the 8:38 mark, mostly because of a game long, reverberating theme: BAD DEFENSE BY THE CELTICS. We got handled by Haslem et al in the paint and on seemingly every loose ball. No hustle = No win.
Big Al continued his game with a steal and a dunk at 7:41 making the score 93-89. The last reasonable bright spot in the game for the C's was that at 4:50, with the score 101-92 Miami, Blount hit a shot off an inbounds pass with :02 secs left on the shot clock. I'll just say that it was one of few bright spots in the game for Blount and leave the negatives at that.
As for the rest of the game, it's really not worth talking about. We lost 100-108.
Game notes: I'm disgusted, to put it mildly.
1. How can Blount have such a pathetic game in the abscence of Shaq?
2. Why did Raef(10/7) sit the majority of the 2nd half, when we were getting worked on the boards?
3. Jiri still is struggling with his shooting and even including Blount, he's the most deserving of being benched right now.
4. How are some of the Celtic Nation going to make PP's 25/6 performance the reason we lost tonight?
5. Nice to see Big Al Jefferson emerge and have a reasonably big game tonight.
Player of the Game: Al Jefferson - 15pts, 9 rbs.
He gets it because tonight was a break out performance for him in his young career. Good signs from a draft class that's the best in recent memory.
Honorable mention: Paul Pierce
25/6/3 speaks for itself.
PS: It probably went completely unnoticed by the majority of the Celtic Nation, but Paul Pierce continued his consecutive game streak of at least 1 steal per game, making it 12 straight.
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