A whole year he waited for that moment, the moment he could finally get his revenge against the Boston Celtics. LeBron James needed Dwyane Wade (34 points) to carry him most of the way there in game 5. The finish, a personal 10-0 run in the 97-87 win, clinching the series for the Heat, was all LeBron.
But we have to begin with Wade. From crazy circus like shots early on to his constant shredding of the Celtics’ attempt to stop his pick n rolls. There was a clip showing of Wade’s favorite move, slicing through double teams, enjoying the fact that no one can move as fast as him sideways. He did it all night, attacking the Celtics’ soft belly time and time again. The Celtics were more interested in stopping LeBron James, handling him better with the double team most of the way.
It took LeBron James more than a quarter to get started, but he was in full gear when the fourth quarter was in its prime time. James Jones hit a three, his only field goal of the game and Chris Bosh dunked his way into tying the game. He scored only 14 points but did a great job on Garnett in the second half.
From there it was James, somehow making those huge threes only when he had a hand in his face. He couldn’t hit them when he was wide open. As the Celtics botched play after play in their ‘do or die’ moments of an entire season and maybe as this group, the faces on the bench, especially Doc Rivers, told there was no miracle comeback.
I would have loved to see James trash talk a bit after the big win. He had a right to do it. The Celtics, among them Glen Davis and Paul Pierce, had a few remarks regarding James and the Heat’s big three earlier this season. They forgot how this particular group was brought together in 2007. Short term memory is always weak with older men I guess. Back to James – he talked about how tough the Celtics made it for them, how much he respects them. He said the Celtics were the reason this whole ‘Galacticos’ project came to be in Miami. He knows there are still eight more games to win, but you could tell how huge this series was for everyone on the Miami Heat side.
The Boston Celtics carried too many problems and injuries into this game, but still managed to lead for almost the entire way. A strong start from Kevin Garnett (15 points and 11 rebounds) couldn’t make up for disappointing series. Rajon Rondo was a non factor, just there to pass along the balls (6 points, 3 assists). He didn’t start any play, didn’t go into pick n rolls. Ray Allen was hot before the fourth quarter started.
There’s something about Ray Allen in big games, in crunch time. He wasted his ammo before it got really interesting. His 18 points and 5 tres didn’t help in the end. Paul Pierce? He got into foul trouble early on and couldn’t really get going, a lot because of Miami’s excellent defense on him. Not having Rondo to create shots makes it a whole lot harder. When it falls on Delonte West and Jeff Green to bring it, the Celtics had no chance.
The future of this group will be discussed quite a lot, I’m sure of it. I don’t think it’ll be in the blood sucking vampirish kind of way things are happening in LA, but a lot of questions on how to keep this team together for another title run are in the air. Rivers has said he’ll return. What about the rest? And will Shaquille O’Neal play basketball again? I don’t know if a long summer of rest will be enough.
The Miami Heat, with all of Wade and James’ flair, made it through on defense. When their big three were playing, it was just too hard for the Celtics to create points. Giving up on Ilgauskas and Bibby, giving more minutes for Anthony, Chalmers and Howard was huge in helping the Heat win the series. They stopped the Celtics under 100 points in each game. They only scored over 100 once. The Heat are only the fifth team in NBA history to hold the Celtics under 100 for an entire series. None of those teams won the NBA title in the end. Food for thought.