In what was a do or die game for the Celtics, a complete team effort saw them jump to a huge lead on Miami, only to be squandered late in the game, but just enough to see them cut the Heat’s series lead in half.
Garnett, Allen and Rondo all hit more than half their shots, Pierce added a typically physical 21 and huge bench contributions from Dooling and Daniels saw the Celtics take their lead as high as 24 points at the beginning of the fourth quarter.
In what was an embarrassingly poor game as far as officiating went (Dwyane Wade 0 FT attempts), Boston registered 58 points in the paint and won the free throw battle, which went a long way to winning the game. Their superior rebounding and another stunningly efficient Rondo performance were the keys to the win which should have been bigger than it ended up being.
The Miami Heat looked more like the Cleveland Cavaliers as it was a one man LeBron James show. He led the team in points, rebounds, steals and blocks, and at stages went on scoring tears which were the only outbursts keeping the game close. Mike Miller and Mario Chalmers joined the party late on, but the game was effectively over and their contributions now irrelevant.
If Miami want to pinpoint a single entity that they can put down as the reason they lost this game, that entity was Dwyane Wade.
He was completely unseen in the first half, relied on James to give him easy looks or got easy shots in transition. His defense was as bad as I have seen in a long time, he was ineffective playing at the point and the entire performance just looked effort-less. Not effortless in that he made it look easy, effort-less in that he didn’t try. I hold Dwyane Wade to the same standards as LeBron James, regardless of James being the clear better of the two, and I don’t think it’s unfair to do so.
It astonishes me that a player of Wade’s talent can have games as bad as he does. There is no superstar in the league that has a greater differential between their best and worst games. When Wade is bad, he stinks up the joint. When he’s good, there’s probably only one player in the world that is better. Miami, especially without Chris Bosh, are relying on Wade to be much closer to his best than his worst, and tonight he offered a performance that ultimately cost his team the game.
I don’t want to put all the blame on him, but too often have we seen this kind of performance and I don’t understand it. We know he is a top 3 player in the league, and we expect him to play like it every night.
Game 4 is huge for the Celtics. A 3-1 deficit heading back to Miami is a death sentence. A 2-2 scoreline may be enough to see Boston extend the series to 7 games. I am sticking by my Heat in 5 prediction, but Dwyane Wade is going to have to do a lot more in game 4 if that is going to happen.