Chris Bosh came through with a key performance for the Heat, scoring 19 points on 3-of-4 shooting from three-point range.
“Honestly, I just thought we had nothing left. That’s how it felt as a coach. I was trying to push every button we possibly had.’’ That was how head coach Doc Rivers described his team’s late meltdown in Miami, scoring only two points over the remaining six minutes and losing, 101-88. What seemed a sure NBA Finals appearance just days ago prior to a tough Game 6 loss was proven to be simply a mirage for this Celtics team. And while I, like most of Boston I’m sure, am heartbroken by the loss, I am extremely proud of what the Big Three of Paul Pierce, Ray Allen, and Kevin Garnett was able to accomplish in their five seasons together, including two NBA Finals appearances and one title.
And there’s no reason everyone out there shouldn’t be giving this team a standing ovation. A group that was under .500 at the All-Star break (16-17), many declared the C’s too old and injury-prone to do anything in the playoffs. Boy, were they proven wrong. And barring an outstanding shooting performance from Chris Bosh, who hit three three-pointers in the victory, the sporting world would’ve been even more shocked. But it simply wasn’t meant to be. This group wasn’t meant to withstand the injuries and age, Father Time finally weighing the team down.
So the only thing I can do is tip my cap to Miami. They survived the early storm we brought, and used their youth and athletic ability to get themselves back in the game. Lebron battled through the tough defense we put on him, Boston choosing to double James and use isolation coverage on Dwayne Wade (like I predicted), and got his 30-plus points (31 to be exact). What made the most difference in this one, however, was the play of Chris Bosh, who showed resiliency off the bench by scoring 19 points. Without his production, the Heat would not have won this game. Forward Shane Battier also contributed significant minutes off the bench, scoring 12 points. Wade had 23.
It’s certainly sad to see it end like this. Even if they didn’t defeat the Oklahoma City Thunder in the Finals, to see them get there would’ve been a real treat in itself. I just found out this morning that I would’ve been going to Game 4 in Boston had they made it, making the loss that much harder to swallow. But the NBA and David Stern got the matchup they wanted, two powerhouses and the league’s top scorers squaring off on basketball’s grandest stage. The only thing I can say is that I’ll be watching the series, and I’ll be rooting against the Heat wholeheartedly. Go OKC!