|Written by Michael|
After all, the Celtics had won three games over the Heat going into this one. Sweeping the season series was almost inconceivable, and no one even really expected Miami to drop those first three matchups all in a row.
So the 100-77 win by the Heat over the Celtics may mean much more for Miami than for Boston. It would have been almost unbearably embarrassing for the Heat to be swept in the regular season by both the Chicago Bulls and the Boston Celtics. While they could never escape a game against the Bulls with a win, they finally pulled one out on Sunday against Boston.
So it was no wonder that LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh and the rest of the Heat came wanting to win more than the Celtics. The real problem with that for Boston is that this game was extremely important in determining which of the two teams will get the second seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs.
Far more worrisome, though, is that this game showed that Celtics head coach Doc Rivers is quickly running out of time to figure out how to make his new lineup work together to win games. With their recent loss to the Chicago Bulls, the Celtics have now dropped two consecutive games against the two best basketball programs in the East. These two defeats may push Boston to the No. 3 seed in the playoffs.
Over the past month, Boston is just 9-10 overall. And they have been playing apathetically down the stretch. They essentially gave up the games against the Bulls and the Heat in the second half of both of those games. The only real scare the C's game the Heat was outscoring them 11-2 to start them game. From then on, it was all downhill and Boston would give up that 9 point lead for a double-digit loss.
And their rebounding fell apart completely against Miami, with the Heat grabbing 15 offensive rebounds compared to the Celtics' three. Overall, Boston was outrebounded 42-26. If the Celtics want to get to the Eastern Conference finals or the NBA Finals, they have to get a better game plan. Lurching into the playoffs is not a viable strategy for them this year.