The Boston Celtics won’t go down without a fight, the Miami Heat are still without Chris Bosh, and rarely is Game 1 indicative of the entire series.
But despite all of that, the Heat will still make quick work of the Celtics in this series. Boston’s margin for error is simply too slim for them to survive this series.
The Heat won 93-79 on Monday night, and it could have been so much worse had they not shut an abysmal 5-25 from three. Of course, they were lights out from everywhere else, shooting 31-47 from inside the arc.
The Celtics were anything but, shooting 32-81 (.395) from the field. But off shooting nights will happen, of course, but it’s how the Heat dominated that was the story.
They out-rebounded the Celtics, 48-13. The blocked 11 shots. They got double-doubles from LeBron James (32 points, 13 rebounds) and Shane Battier (10 points, 10 rebounds). Dwyane Wade finished with 22 points and seven assists.
And from beginning to end, they were clearly the better team.
Well, except in the second quarter, the one positive in this game for Boston. The Celtics came alive then, scoring 35 points and often looking unstoppable in its offensive execution. But it was an aberration—they failed to score 20 points in any of the other three quarters.
The Celtics should be able to keep this close, namely because the Heat don’t have Bosh. They’ve done battle in the playoffs against LeBron in three-straight playoffs now, so they know what to expect. They’re a wily, veteran group that is hard to beat when Rajon Rondo plays at the top of his game.
But everything needs to go right for them to knock off this Heat team. They need to win the battle on the boards, slow the game down, shoot a high percentage, get more than the 14 points the bench offered on Monday, execute the offense to perfection, get Rondo hot and, after they’ve done all of that, pray that LeBron and D-Wade don’t simply take over the game themselves.
They aren’t playing the Philadelphia Sixers anymore. They can’t fail to show up for a quarter, let alone three, and hope to win. They can’t get a combined 18 points from Paul Pierce and Ray Allen and hope to win.
Yes, they’ll keep each game close. The problem is, the Heat won’t lose the close games in this series, and I fully expect this one to be over in either four or five games.
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