Heat Vs. Celtics, Game 2: LeBron James, Dwyane Wade Pull Away At Home

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The One Where LeBron Comes Alive, And The Celtics Just Look Dead

We all know the Boston Celtics are old, but compared to LeBron James' brilliance Tuesday night, they looked downright dead. The series isn't over yet and Boston will not go quietly, but how much longer can the Celtics fight off reality against the Miami Heat?


As Expected, Foul Disparity Huge As Miami Heat Leads Boston Celtics 2-0

Coming into the NBA Playoffs series between the Miami Heat and Boston Celtics, we knew one factor would tilt heavily in favor of the challengers from South Beach: free throw. Miami finished the regular season No. 3 in free throw rate, per Basketball Reference. Boston was No. 19 in foul rate. That adds up to a lot of free throws for LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh.

Sure enough, there have been a lot of free throws for the Heat through two games.

In Game 1, the Heat took 32 free throws to Boston's 18. That comes out to Miami hitting a free throw for every 2.6 field goal attempts. For Boston in Game 1, that figure was a free throw for every 5.3 field goal attempts. In Game 2, the disparity remained: Miami had 36 attempts, and Boston had 22. The Heat had a free throw for every 2.7 shots, and the Celtics had one for every 4.65 shots.

Game 2 saw Miami collect their foul shots among the Big Three; James, Wade and Bosh took 32 of the team's 36 free throws. In Game 1, James Jones led the team with 10 and Bosh was unable to draw many whistles. Boston's free throws have been dispersed in each game.

We'll see if the disparity keeps up -- as it should, given the styles of basketball the teams play -- or if Boston's home court advantage will sway the referees in Games 3 and 4. Studies have shown that visiting teams are called for more fouls than expected, possibly due to subconscious referee bias or players simply being out-of-sorts on the road.


Celtics Fans Wonder When Heat Became Better Than Boston

The Miami Heat took a 2-0 lead on the Boston Celtics Tuesday night, with LeBron James leading the way with 35 points. The Celtics now must win four of five games against Miami to survive and move on to the second round. They are long odds, and Jeff Clark of CelticsBlog wonders how we got here.

As Celtics fans we have hung our hats on those early season matchups against the Heat. It was poetic that the model of team play and unselfishness won out over the team of egos and hero-ball. We represented the old school, gritty, in-your-face, defense-first way of winning titles. They represented the star system and relied on one-on-one play and simply imposing their individual wills on the other team. We were a team with amazing talent that was somehow greater than the sum of its parts. They were exactly the sum of their parts. It was comforting.

Now all that has changed. A lot has changed actually.

Frankly, it has seemed to flip. The C's were the team stuck playing one-on-one late in Game 2, with Glen Davis a particular suspect. The Heat, meanwhile, have watched LeBron and Dwyane Wade play off of each other rather well in the series.

Clark also discusses the trade that sent Kendrick Perkins to Oklahoma City for Jeff Green; while it's unclear how much of a difference a bully like Perk could have made, Green hasn't been great.


Celtics Vs. Heat Game 2 Final Score: LeBron James, Miami Open Up 2-0 Lead

The Boston Celtics are now down 2-0 to the Miami Heat after a 102-91 win by the home team. LeBron James poured in 35 points and seven rebounds and totally not quitting, for those of you who wondered whether he'd quit or not. Associate Dwyane Wade contributed 28 points, while associate Chris Bosh added 17 points and 11 rebounds.

The officiating in this one drew complaints, just as Game 1's did. One late sequence involved Mario Chalmers selling a Kevin Garnett swipe with a tremendous acting job, which was followed up by Doc Rivers earning a tech for protesting the charitable call. While Paul Pierce didn't get thrown out for being a bad friend this time around, Miami shot 14 more free throws than Boston did and definitely got some home cookin'. Ropa vieja, if you please.

Boston gets it's chance at a home court advantage of its own on Saturday night. If Rajon Rondo and company have any interest in making a series of it, they'll need to counter Miami's hot streaks and fast breaks.

For more on this series, read up on our Heat-Celtics section; Celtics fans should join Celtics Blog and SB Nation Boston, and Heat fans should head to Peninsula Is Mightier.


Celtics, Heat Game 2 Score Still Tight After Three Quarters

The Miami Heat have scored tonight in big runs and with screen saver highlights, yet the Boston Celtics are only down 72-67 at the end of three. LeBron James led an 11-5 Miami tear to close out the third period, posting 23 on the night and actually outscoring Dwyane Wade, who might hold down half the top-10 plays of the night by the final buzzer.

Kevin Garnett and Rajon Rondo have combined for 27 Celtics points, with Rondo also dealing nine dimes. Jermaine O'Neal has eight points and nine boards.

Miami holds a slight edge all along the box score, but you can't shake the feeling that this game is going to come down to a narrower finish than Game 1 did. Can the Heat shake the crunch-time reputation they developed all year long?

For more on this series, read up on our Heat-Celtics section; Celtics fans should join Celtics Blog and SB Nation Boston, and Heat fans should head to Peninsula Is Mightier.


Dwyane Wade Highlight Show Has Heat Outscoring Celtics At Half

Dwyane Wade is putting it on the Boston Celtics in Game 2. After lobbing an alley oop to LeBron James and before delivering a subtle move that sent Ray Allen crashing to the floor, Wade spun Kevin Garnett right round with a lethal crossover (Miami's up 47-42, by the way). Here's the Allen move, followed by Garnett, both via @blazersedge:

Wade has a game-high 16 points, adding six rebounds and a pair of assists. James has 11, while Chris Bosh is a couple plays away from a double-double.

Oh right, Boston is playing too! Rajon Rondo has eight points and four assists, with the team's shooting suffering in the second quarter. After hitting most of their shots in the first, Boston's now under 40 percent for the game. Jeff Green is doing his part from the field, missing only one of his five attempts.

For more on this series, read up on our Heat-Celtics section; Celtics fans should join Celtics Blog and SB Nation Boston, and Heat fans should head to Peninsula Is Mightier.


Celtics Vs. Heat Score: LeBron James Has Heat Ahead In Game 2

The Miami Heat and Boston Celtics have gone about getting their scores differently, but the result at the end of the first quarter is just about the same: Miami leads, 27-26. Boston has enjoyed a strong quarter of shooting, including two threes by Jeff Green, but Miami is getting to the line and avoiding turnovers, led by LeBron James' eight points.

Paul Pierce has five points and two rebounds, looking to bounce back from a Game 1 that saw him inexplicably ejected down the line. He'll have to contend with a Miami crowd riddled with seats covered in white, though the arena did get pretty fired up after performing the national anthem itself, sans soloist.

Doc Rivers said the key to the second is going to be hanging on to the ball -- the Celtics have turned it over thrice already.

For more on this series, read up on our Heat-Celtics section; Celtics fans should join Celtics Blog and SB Nation Boston, and Heat fans should head to Peninsula Is Mightier.


Shaquille O'Neal A Game-Time Decision For Celtics' Game 2 Vs. Heat

Shaquille O'Neal will be a game-time decision for the Boston Celtics' Game 2 against the Miami Heat in the second round of the 2011 NBA Playoffs, reports Paul Flannery of WEEI.com.

O'Neal didn't play in Game 1 or any of Boston's four games against the New York Knicks in the first round of the playoffs. He had a short stint in one regular season game in April, but tweaked his hamstring and missed the rest of the Celtics' schedule. He hasn't played substantial minutes since early February, and Boston coach Doc Rivers told Flannery that this was Shaq's first scrimmage in the last month.

"He looked great yesterday. He went through the whole practice. He was phenomenal actually. He had one stretch that was phenomenal. Then by the end of the practice he was struggling walking. We’ll see but I would say Game 3 is becoming likely. Game 2, were not sure but I doubt it."

The Celtics visit Miami for Game 2 at 7 p.m. ET on Tuesday, trailing in the series 1-0. For more on the C's, visit CelticsBlog.


Heat Vs. Celtics, Game 2: Paul Pierce, Boston Thinking Revenge In Miami

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.

Be sure to check out our Heat vs. Celtics hub for full series coverage. For more on the Celtics, visit CelticsBlog and SB Nation Boston. For more on the Heat, visit Peninsula Is Mightier.

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