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Miami Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra is likely feeling pretty good about his team's chances for reaching the NBA finals following a double-digit win over the Boston Celtics in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference finals on Monday night.
ASAP Sports provided a transcript from Spoelstra's press conference on Tuesday. The coach addressed some comments from Celtics point guard Rajon Rondo that suggest the forthcoming games in the series will be decidedly more physical.
Q. How prepared do you think your team is for a more physical Boston Celtics team?
COACH ERIK SPOELSTRA: We'll find out. We think we're a physical team. They're a physical team. It still will be about the game and who plays the game better, who plays to their identity better. Our strengths and things that we emphasize won't change from Game 1 to Game 2.
Q. What do you say to your team when the other team is saying things like "We have to make them hit the deck more" or "We have to make them less comfortable"?
COACH ERIK SPOELSTRA: That's all part of the playoffs. Nope, we're not even going to get into it. It's about the game. And we understand that. There will be a lot of different distractions and noise out there. We have to focus on winning the game of basketball tomorrow night.
Over the next few games, fans may see the bad blood between the Heat and Celtics ramp up, as well as an increase in aggressive play and more hard fouls, but Spoelstra doesn't seem overly concerned.
The Boston Celtics may rest Ray Allen and his injured ankles for Game 2 of the 2012 NBA Eastern Conference finals against the Miami Heat, head coach Doc Rivers told Jackie MacMullan of ESPN Boston on Tuesday. Allen struggled in Game 1, going 1-7 from the field and an almost inexplicable 3-7 from the free throw line.
"It's a tough call with him," Rivers said. "We're trying to figure out a different minute rotation for him, maybe that will help him. We're even considering sitting him for a game, getting him a longer rest and then playing him, and then sitting him for a game. We don't know what the right thing is."
Allen hasn't been himself throughout the playoffs. He is averaging just 9.6 points per game this postseason, and his 39 percent shooting mark would be the lowest playoff average of his career if it holds. Some time to rest could do him some good. As it now stands, Allen isn't doing much on the floor for the Celtics.
Have the Miami Heat figured out Rajon Rondo, or did he just have one bad game. We're leaning towards the latter.
Monday night marked the first game of the Eastern Conference Finals, and unfortunately for the Boston Celtics, it may have also marked the beginning of the end. It looked as though Boston might be able to make it competitive after closing strong in the first half, but it apparently just wasn't meant to be.
It wasn't the best game one that anyone is going to watch in this year's NBA Playoffs, but the Heat's ability to turn it on after halftime is something that should worry the Celtics' faithful. Especially because, as SB Nation's Peninsula Is Mightier noted, Miami seemed to find a whole 'nother gear in the second half.
Wade scored just six points in the first half, but aggressively attacked a hobbled Ray Allen in the pick-and-roll to score a few easy buckets and get to the foul line. Shane Battier also had a nice defensive sequence in the third quarter, blocking Paul Pierce on one possession and then stealing the ball from him on another. And in the fourth, Wade and James each made a sensational bank shot over Kevin Garnett to keep Boston at bay.
Miami turned in an impressive performance on Monday night, to be sure, but the Celtics had their fair share of miscues. One of the biggest issues, according to SB Nation's Celtics Blog, was the inability to effectively swing the ball in an effort to get easy buckets.
Far be it for me to presume that anyone would listen to what I have to say about the Celtics offense. I've reminded you time and again that I'm no scout or coach. However, it doesn't take a scout or a coach to see that the Boston Celtics need to move the ball on offense to be successful.
Some teams can get by for stretches with one-on-one or relying on their first or second options every time down the court. Not the Celtics and certainly not against the Heat.
Rondo can't be slow to get into his sets. Pierce can't catch and wait for the play to develop. Bass can't be a black hole. The ball has to move like a hot potato. It has to fly around the horn like a baseball drill. The offense needs to execute and look for open shots.
It's true -- for as good as the Heat looked on Monday night, the Celtics -- for all but a solid run in the second quarter -- looked just as bad. It's not going to be impossible for Boston to turn things around, of course, but it won't be easy to shut down James and Wade if they're able to continue playing well.
The Boston Celtics are going to have to alter their approach against the Miami Heat if they hope to make the Eastern Conference Finals a competitive series.
The Boston Celtics didn't look particularly impressive in Game 1 against the Miami Heat on Monday night. The Heat ran wild late in the game en route to a double-digit win to open the Eastern Conference final series. While the Heat seemed to be having a blast in the second half, the Celtics looked increasingly frustrated. LeBron James and Dwyane Wade repeatedly drove the lane in the game and may be in store for some payback.
"Shrink the floor," Rondo spat out in the visiting locker room, and when asked if making James and Wade pay for driving the lane was the appropriate counter, he offered the quote that will define Game 2.
"Nothing dirty," Rondo said. "But, you know, they've got to hit the deck, too."
James was told about Rondo's comments and responded thusly:
"That doesn't change anything for us," James said. "We expect to hit the deck every single game, me and D-Wade. It's how we feel like teams approach us. They feel like they need to put us on the floor, hard-foul us. It doesn't change our approach. We still have to be in attack mode no matter what happens, because that's when we're at our best as a team."
The Celtics may be hoping to take the Heat to church in Game 2 and beyond, but they didn't really look capable of muscling around the Miami team at any point in Game 1.
On Monday night, old rivals the Miami Heat and the Boston Celtics faced off in South Beach in the first game of the NBA Eastern Conference final. At the end of the evening the Heat had picked up the 1-0 advantage in the best-of-seven series by a final score of 93-79.
The Celtics were outscored 21-11 in the first quarter, but exploded for 35 points in the second quarter to enter halftime in a 46-46 tie. After the break, the Heat quickly regained the lead and pushed it out to double digits by the end of the third quarter. The Heat easily held onto their lead over the last 12 minutes and coasted to the win.
LeBron James had a big double-double for the Heat, finishing with 32 points and 13 rebounds. Dwyane Wade added 22 points to the winning effort. Kevin Garnett led all Celtics scorers with 23 points and 10 rebounds.
Game 2 of the series will be on Wednesday, when the Heat will attempt to take a 2-0 lead while still on their home court.
It must be nice to weigh 265 pounds like LeBron James. That way, he can get away with laughing in Kevin Garnett's face without fear of retaliation.
Nice Emperor Palpatine impression, LeBron. Too bad KG was turned to the dark side many years ago.
The worst thing about the Celtics’ zone is that it’s hard to identify what kind of zone it is. It’s sort of a matchup zone … but really, it’s a 2-1-2 … but really, it’s a 3-2 … yeah, I don’t know either.
As expected, Dwyane Wade is doing a beautiful job roaming off Rajon Rondo to help everyone else out. It’s forcing the Celtics to pause for a second before deciding what to do next, ruining their offensive rhythm. It’s very reminiscent of the way Kobe Bryant took Rondo out of games in the 2010 NBA Finals.
This is the first big chess piece that has been played in this series. Rondo and the Celtics now need to adjust.
Shane Battier rediscovered his game midway through the Heat’s series against the Pacers, and has been excellent since. In this game, he’s done a great job with two key defensive assignments: roaming to help off Brandon Bass, and more recently, defending Paul Pierce. His versatility has allowed the Heat to compensate for the loss of Chris Bosh.
You could say this is a vintage Battier performance, but we didn’t look closely enough to appreciate those back in the day.
It wasn't a chase-down block, but it was just as impressive.
Why? Wade has been able to take advantage of Rondo a couple of times, once in the post and once on pick and roll. Rondo, meanwhile, can take advantage of Wade, but it’s harder when Wade is playing five feet off him like every other Heat defender has so far. Considering how much Wade roams anyway on defense, it’s not a bad strategy to have him check Rondo. When the Lakers played the Celtics in the NBA Finals, they had Kobe Bryant doing the same thing.
It’ll be interesting to see how the Celtics adjust. Look for Rondo to make some hard cuts off the ball.
Jeff Van Gundy was right. There will be a quarterback controversy in Miami this fall.
That’s according to CBS Sports’ box score at least. I thought Rondo missed 70 layups, so it’s probably not accurate.
Through one half, the Miami Heat and Boston Celtics are tied 46-46 in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals.
Immediately after the final buzzer for halftime sounded, the scoreboard in the American Airlines Arena read 50-46. But officials reviewed both a Joel Anthony putback from earlier in the half as well as a Udonis Haslem putback, and determined the ball did not leave Anthony's hand before the 24-second shot clock ran out and that Haslem's shot did not beat the halftime buzzer.
These four points could be key if this game remains close in the second half.
The Heat, who came out hot by taking a commanding 21-11 lead after the first quarter, were limited in the second quarter. The Celtics clawed their way back into the game by hitting key shots, led primarily by Kevin Garnett's 13-points on 6-8 shooting.
Not only are the Celtics getting better looks in their half-court offense, they're limiting fast-break opportunities for the Heat, which is critical to their success in this seven-game series.
Overall, the Celtics are outshooting the Heat from the floor 50 percent to 43 percent, respectively.
One reason the Celtics always seem to have a chance is that they call the best set plays in the NBA. They have a great coach who draws up things other coaches never would, and they have players who can execute those plays. In particular, the Celtics run great misdirection plays, sending all the action on one side, then sneaking a star out for an open shot on the other.
Those plays killed the Heat in the second quarter, and they allowed Paul Pierce in particular to get open looks. Misdirection is particularly effective against the Heat because of the way they pressure the ball. It’s now on the Heat to adjust.
The Boston Celtics have three technical fouls in the first half of Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals against the Miami Heat. Ray Allen picked up the first one for momentarily expressing frustration about a call. Kevin Garnett kinda sorta picked up the second one for a delay of game.
Then, Doc Rivers picked up the third one for shouting “C’mon Eddie” to Ed Maloy. His reaction was kind of perfect.
I’d love to have the power of incurring that kind of reaction simply for people shouting my name. But wait: it gets better. These Rivers faces come on the possession after the technical foul.
I can’t blame Maloy too much. It is a lot of fun to mess with people like this.
All it took was one Ray Allen three-pointer for the Heat to abandon their strategy of ignoring him and defend him coming off screens like he was completely healthy. This has opened up a ton of easy shots for Greg Stiemsma, Paul Pierce and others.
Stop guarding Ray Allen like he’s the same Ray Allen he used to be. He has to hit way more threes to switch strategies.
As soon as the Celtics got Ryan Hollins off the floor for Keyon Dooling, things improved. Kevin Garnett was able to get back to guarding the basket, and Dooling has done a nice job defensively in this sequence.
I’d expect to see this lineup a lot more over the course of the series.
With Ryan Hollins in the game and LeBron James playing power forward, Kevin Garnett has been forced to defend small forward Mike Miller. That’s an odd matchup, because it pulls the Celtics’ best defensive anchor away from the hoop. Naturally, Miller already has two three-pointers early in this second quarter.
The Celtics need to figure out a solution here. Perhaps it involves not playing Ryan Hollins.
Wearing light-colored trousers is apparently the style in Miami these days. Last week, Dwyane Wade showed off pink pants after the Heat eliminated the Pacers in Game 6. The ensemble that Chris Bosh is wearing during Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals isn't quite that bold, but it's pretty close.
Did Bosh catch some salmon over Memorial Day?
LeBron James is off to a fine start in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals against the Boston Celtics, having scored 13 first-quarter points. (The Celtics have 11, for the record). The two nicest ones came on this alley-oop dunk off the beautiful pass from Mario Chalmers. James saw Paul Pierce turn his head, cut backdoor and converted thanks to Chalmers' gorgeous, well-timed pass.
Ray Allen is the NBA's all-time leader in three-pointers made, but in these playoffs, he is shooting just 26 percent from downtown. His ankle injury has been preventing him from being himself, and at this point, it's depressing to watch.
Opponents realize it too, which is also depressing. Consider how Shane Battier guarded this play. As you can see here, he's more concerned with defending Kevin Garnett at the free-throw line than Allen from beyond the arc. He's not even looking at Allen here.
Allen therefore popped open for three, but he missed. It's amazing how little respect Battier is paying to him.
On the Celtics’ side, Kevin Garnett is technically guarding Shane Battier, though he’s really guarding the empty spot right around the free-throw line.
On the Heat’s side, LeBron James is still on Paul Pierce, but Shane Battier (who guarded David West against the Pacers) is on Brandon Bass, not Kevin Garnett. Garnett, so far, has had his way with Ronny Turiaf.
Both teams like to run off missed shots, so matching up in transition will be critically important.
Either Dwyane Wade's mother thinks her son wouldn't recognize her, or she just really wants to get noticed on TV.
"I can't imagine anything I wouldn't do for Dwyane," Haslem told the Miami Herald's Dan Le Batard in reference to his retaliation hit on Indiana Pacer Tyler Hansbrough after Hansbrough leveled Dwyane Wade earlier in Game 5.
Were you really that surprised?
And aren't you actually a bit pleased Haslem was candid on the incident?
Haslem's hit, while malicious, was what NBA playoff basketball should be allowed to be. Too often we see players in this league go out of their way to remain friendly and chummy with the opponent, putting off-court relationships on just as high a pedestal as playing all-out to win an NBA Championship. Haslem's hit on Hansbrough showed how he's willing to play the role of a bad guy if it's what his team needs.
It also may have initiated a shift in how we (as fans and the national media) perceive the Miami Heat.
"It is all fun and games to beat up the Heat in the media, to say the Heat are soft," added Haslem to Le Batard. "Rabbit hunting is fun. But it ain't funny when the rabbit has the gun."
At least now we can end the specualtion on this story and put it to rest.
Haslem intended to inflict pain on Hansbrough. It cost him a playoff game, but no doubt earned him a bit more respect in the Heat locker room, and sent a message to the Boston Celtics and possible NBA Finals opponent that this flashy South Beach team may actually have an enforcer ready to protect his team's stars.
Chris Bosh is back to working out after missing two weeks with an abdominal strain, but there's no telling when he'll get back to real basketball work for the Miami Heat. Bosh went through a light workout on Sunday, but was never expected to play in Game 1, and Spoelstra was never planning to have him available.
Spoelstra said that Bosh's workout was a "positive sign", but that he's not far enough along in his rehabilitation for the team to start thinking about when he can reclaim his place in the starting lineup.
"We'll continue to re-evaluate him every day. He'll continue to do his rehab. When he starts legitimate basketball work, I'll pay attention a little more ... He just did the next step in the progression of his rehab. There's still no timetable."
The Heat were able to get by the Indiana Pacers in six games without Bosh, but they struggled without him and relied on LeBron James and Dwyane Wade to take over games offensively. Additionally, the Heat will have to be creative in how they defend Kevin Garnett without Bosh on the floor.
It's the Heat and Celtics, playing in a key playoff series again. What are the keys to either team coming away with the victory?
The Boston Celtics will play the Miami Heat on Monday night in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals with hopes of stealing homecourt advantage. It won't be easy, of course, but it doesn't hurt that Chris Bosh is still dealing with injury issues and won't play Monday night.
Without Bosh in the lineup, the Heat offense has relied on the heroics of either LeBron James or Dwyane Wade -- and little else, honestly. Both players are excellent at what they do, but our friends over at SB Nation's CelticsBlog believe that plays right into Boston's ideal scenario.
One of my main reasons for optimism is this: The Celtics are experts at taking away what another team does best. The Heat are very one dimensional - they rely on their two stars to get them points. They are going to get points, no doubt about it, but the Celtics are going to (as a team) make that harder on them than other teams might.
The Indiana Pacers will be the first to tell Boston that limiting Wade and James is easier said than done, considering that the two have done an excellent job of picking up the other's slack thus far in the NBA Playoffs. If Boston is able to pull it off, though? Bravo!
The Miami Heat were able to get by the Indiana Pacers without the services of Chris Bosh, but they didn't exactly make it easy. It's likely that the Boston Celtics are going to exploit his absence a bit more in the Eastern Conference Finals, though, making the latest injury update an interesting one for Miami.
Bosh seems to be recuperating from the abdominal strain that's caused him to miss the last two weeks, but it doesn't sound as though the recovery is going quickly enough for him to be ready to play in Game 1 on Monday night. Bosh was able to go through a workout on Sunday afternoon, according to ESPN's Michael Wallace, but it doesn't sound as though that changed anything for the immediate future.
Bosh was not present on the practice court at the arena when the Heat wrapped up a workout earlier Sunday afternoon in preparation for Game 1. Heat coach Erik Spoelstra told reporters after practice that there was no change in Bosh's status, and that he was preparing to be without the perennial All-Star forward going into the series opener.
"I'm not even preparing for that right now," Spoelstra said earlier Sunday when asked about Bosh's status for the series. "I'm preparing for who we have in the gym. So our focus is (Monday). And that's all I can concentrate on. We have enough to win (Monday). That's all that any of our guys should be focused on."
Bosh's presence on the floor opens quite a few things up for the Heat, but if he's unable to go, the Heat's "small" ball lineup could also give the Celtics fits as they attempt to matchup on the defensive end.
LeBron James must beat the Celtics to continue his journey toward a proper legacy, but he can't actually win against Boston ... all because of 2010.
The Heat and Celtics meet in the Eastern Conference Finals for a chance to play for the NBA title.
Miami's star calls any talk of the injuries affecting both team's "excuses".
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