While an 8 point win isn’t exactly a humiliation, LeBron James, Chris Bosh and Dwayne Wade weren’t about to ruin a chance to finally clinch a season series against their biggest rivals, getting a lot of help, or actually being helpful to Ray Allen and Rashard Lewis, who surprisingly, or not, took a lot of load off the tired legs and shoulders of the Big Three.
It’s been quite a while since the Miami Heat took a season series from the Boston Celtics, and even though the plan was to give James, Wade and Bosh a rest in the final 10 days of the regular season, making it 3-1 and putting another nail in the coffin of the most dominant team in the Eastern Conference since 2008 was just too good to pass.
So LeBron James played for 29 minutes, scoring 20 points and adding 9 assists. Chris Bosh spent 25 minutes on the floor to give 17, while Wade played more than anyone, but his offensive struggles kept him at 11 points, adding 7 rebounds and 6 assists.
But the real addition was the bench, as Rashard Lewis continues his late season awakening, averaging 14 points per game over the last five and adding 19 in the win over the Boston Celtics, giving the Heat another option to score and shoot from the outside, something they sorely need besides the more reliable Ray Allen, going into the final stage of a repeat. The outside shooting ability of James Jones, Mike Miller and Mario Chalmers didn’t win them the title in 2012, but it didn’t hurt either.
The Celtics enjoyed the rust during the first quarter, winning it 27-17, but once Miami threw in their more fluid second unit, the game changed completely, scoring a season high 41 points in the second quarter, and that was pretty much it. Doc Rivers, never the classiest of losers when it comes to the Miami Heat, said that the Heat’s subs beat his subs, and didn’t throw in another compliment. It stings to be this far off in what was an excellent rivalry for a couple of seasons.
While the Heat want to further rest their big three, it seems they want to play against Chicago on Sunday, wanting a little bit of revenge against the team that took their record winning streak away from them. Maybe getting them a little bit of action, and especially wins, won’t hurt as much as it potentially can, thinking about how long it took them to find their rhythm in a game against a team that shouldn’t trouble them in a postseason series, if the two ever meet.
We want to continue just to work our habits throughout these last three games of the regular season. And then the real season begins.