It took a team defensive effort for the Celtics to hold the Heat to just 39 percent shooting overall. Boston switched between man and zone coverages in order to confuse Miami, showing the most when they began to take unnecessary jump shots.
“They jumped on us at the beginning of the game and we just told our guys to just hang in there. Just hang in there,” Boston Celtics head coach Doc Rivers said. ”Don’t overreact. Hang in there. The longer we’re in the game, the better we’ll play.” The Celtics clearly took the advice of their head coach, managing to do exactly that, eventually taking the lead late in last night’s contest and holding on to win, 94-90. I must say, when Boston got down early and the officials’ calls began favoring the Heat considerably I began to lose hope. But I knew if they could just manage to keep the game under 10, they could stay in this thing and take a late lead. Miami never delivered the knockout punch to the C’s, and the boys in green used that to their advantage. They also spoiled the return of Chris Bosh from an abdominal strain that has kept him out for nine consecutive games. Bosh gave them a bit of a spark early, but faded as the game went on most likely due to fatigue from not having played.
I can’t express enough how proud I am of this Celtics team. To have come this far with guys banged up, with one of your starters at 50 percent, and a defensive guru out indefinitely with an injury is quite an accomplishment. Especially against the upstart Miami Heat, the team that was supposed to win “not one, not two, not three,” not even four, titles. The team with both Lebron James and Dwayne Wade, two of the game’s best scorers. Despite their star power and the match-ups heavily favoring Miami, the C’s have still managed to take a 3-2 lead in the series. For that, they do a considerable round of applause. But to them, I’m sure it comes as no surprise. Kevin Garnett even said to Paul Pierce in a news conference prior to the playoffs, “This team has an ’08 feel to it.” While most originally laughed at the ridiculousness of the statement, the Heat all but handed their tickets to the NBA Finals by both analysts and fans, it is now seeming to gather some credibility. What a storybook ending it would be to the fabled career of Boston’s Big 3. Can they really do it, though? We’ll find out Thursday.