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.