at Miami Heat (2-0) at Boston Celtics (0-2)
Saturday, May 7
8:00 PM ET
Playoff Game #7, Home Game #3
TV: ABC, CHCH-TV
Radio: WEEI, ESPN Radio
Referees: Steve Javie, Bob Delaney, Bill Kennedy The Celtics return home looking to get their first win in the series. They left Miami bruised and battered by LeBron's elbows and the refs' failure to call them. Fortunately they have had 3 days to heal and prepare for game 3. All of the players are saying that they are locked in and focused. And all of them welcome a return from the sandy beaches to The Jungle.
News out of Thursday's practice is that Shaq is ready to play and has been cleared to do so by the training staff. So far, no news has come out to the contrary so Celtics fans can expect to see Shaq coming off the bench for the Celtics in this game. His presence alone should give the Celtics a boost. The Celtics have struggled with stopping penetration and rebounding and having Shaq on the court should be a help in both areas.
One thing that is certain in this series is that the Celtics have not played well in either game so far. They haven't played Celtics ball and they haven't played with much energy or focus. They have not shot the ball well. Both the starters and the reserves can all play much better. We know that they can, but the big question is whether they will. On the other hand, the Heat have played very well and it is doubtful that they could play much better.
The Celtics are confident that they can come back and win this series and were buoyed by a visit from John Havlicek to Thursday's practice. They are inspired by Havlicek's 1969 team that also were down 0-2 and went on to win the series and the Championship. There are many parallels that can be drawn between the two teams and this Celtics team is poised to repeat that feat. With the Lakers struggling even more out West, if the Celtics can get past Miami, they would be considered a favorite for the title. It all starts with a win in this game and the Celtics are determined to get it.
Boston Celtics (0-1) at Miami Heat (1-0)
Tuesday, May 2
7:00 PM ET
Playoff Game #6 Road Game #4
Round 2, Game 2
TV: TNT, TSN2
Radio: WEEI, WAXY
American Airlines Arena
Referees: Joe Crawford, Jason Phillips, Greg Willard, (Tom Washington, Alternate)
The Celtics have to come into this game angry and ready to play. If they don't, they don't deserve to win. After being treated unfairly by the refs (which they admitted by changing 2 of their terrible calls) and punked by the Heat, the Celtics need to have a chip on their shoulders and come out aggressive right from the beginning.
After bragging about how much better the Celtics bench was than the Heat bench, Big Baby finished with just 4 points and 4 rebounds and a whopping -21 in the +/- column. Jeff Green must be more aggressive on the boards. There is no excuse for a guy who is 6'9" tall and who has his athleticism and quickness to play over 21 minutes and not get a rebound. Delonte was just 3-9 from the field, missing not one but 2 dunks. One of the keys for this game is for our "superior" bench to play much better.
The Celtics played like they were the young and inexperienced team in game 1, allowing the Heat to be the more aggressive and physical team. They reacted to the Heat instead of being the instigators and they got caught reacting and that frustrated them even more. They have to stay composed and execute their game plan without allowing themselves to get frustrated by the lack of calls or by the physical play of the Heat.
Both teams can point to areas that they can improve. Both Bosh and LeBron could play better. No one on the Heat bench played well other than James Jones. Udonis Haslem is considered day to day and may make his return to the team sometime in this series. For the Celtics, KG, Rondo and Pierce can all play better. The Celtics bench certainly can play better. And Doc has said that Shaq should play in either game 2 or game 3. Chances are that James Jones doesn't shoot that well in every game. Hopefully the refs aren't as blatant in calling the game one sided again. If the Celtics play with some intensity and fire and they avoid getting caught up in mind games, they have a good chance of winning this game, regardless of the officiating.
Boston Celtics (4-0) at Miami Heat (4-1)
Sunday, May 1
3:30 PM ET
Playoff Game #5 Road Game #3
Radio: WEEI, WAXY
American Airlines Arena
Referees: Not yet announced
This is the matchup that everyone assumed would happen from the opening night of the regular season when they faced each other. There are so many sub-plots in this series and there is sure to be plenty of drama. The Celtics won 3 of 4 from the Heat in the regular season, losing only their last game when the Celtics were in the midst of their end of the year mini-slump.
For LeBron James, this has to be personal. First of all, he hasn't been able to get past the Celtics in the playoffs since the 2007-08 season. The Celtics embarrassed LeBron's Cavs in last year's playoffs as they were expected to steamroll through the playoffs but came up short as LeBron put in sub-par performances due to either his boo-boo elbow or his mother's indiscretions, depending on who you believe.
The Celtics bench, in spite of being loaded, played poorly against the Knicks. In 3 of the 4 games, Doc was forced to play the starters more minutes because the bench was giving up leads and not playing well. In the 4th game, the bench finally started to play well and even increased the lead when they were in. The Celtics will need strong play from Big Baby, Jeff Green and Delonte especially. Hopefully a few good days of practice will help them play up to their capabilities. Shaq's status is still up in the air as is the status of both Udonis Haslem and Mike Miller for the Heat.
It will be important for the Celtics to get off to a strong start in this game and in the series. They need to get the first punch in and not let up. They need to keep the Heat on their heels and not allow them to gain confidence in this series. Read more » Leave a comment Link backs Tweet