If the Boston Celtics planned to bully the Miami Heat in their NBA Playoffs meeting, Game 1 was a really, really bad start. The Celtics played up their own physicality, especially as Miami zipped away with a lead often in the low double-digits. Paul Pierce was eventually booted after an altercation with James Jones and a face-off with Dwyane Wade. The tone seemed clear: the Heat may have the glitzy stars, but the Celtics have the muscle.
As it turns out, Miami had the glitz and the muscle, and simply overpowered a Boston team that looked exhausted and confused despite a week away from action and full knowledge of who the second-round opponent would be. LeBron James' hands and vision seemed two steps ahead of Boston, and Dwyane Wade crushed all concerns about his fitness against a team that dominated him in the regular season. Even Jones, who disappeared from the Heat rotation for a spell during the season, pounded the Celtics' superior bench.
This all masked Chris Bosh's disappointing (and, frankly, frightening) performance, and Miami's dominance overwhelmed the narrative of Boston's own crummy afternoon. Rajon Rondo was an opaque facsimile of his usual self; Kevin Garnett did Bosh nasty when Miami had the ball, but couldn't punish the Heat's interior on the other end. And Pierce? On this night, he was mostly bark.
You figure Boston will look to redefine the series before it heads north, and Game 2 in Miami (7 p.m. ET, TNT) provides that opportunity. For all the success the Heat had on Sunday, Wade's ability to chase Ray Allen and be an offensive master can still be questioned; one game does not a series make. It'd be foolish to bet against Wade, but wondering if he might slow down a bit is perfectly fair.