Boston Celtics Should Be Very Afraid

Posted by Erin B on 2012-05-29 09:34:00 | Views: 55 |

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Boston Celtics Should Be Very Afraid

MIAMI—They threw a basketball game Monday night and a Bob Marley concert broke out.

“Everything’s going to be okay,” Mickael Pietrus said. “It’s all good. Life is still good. Everything’s going to be okay.”

He was born on the island of Guadeloupe and has a deep Caribbean accent. So if you closed your eyes and listened, you’d think Marley had come back from the dead, put on Celtics green and began performing his reggae classic, “Everything’s Gonna Be Alright.”

No, it’s not. Boston is not dead after one game, but what happened at the AmericanAirlines Arena was certainly enough to make Celtics fans cover their eyes.

Boston looked tired, old and pretty much at the mercy of LeBron James & Co. The Heat’s 93-79 win of Game 1 in the Eastern Conference finals validated all the hopes of Miami and all the fears of Boston. And the scary part for Celtics is Miami wasn’t really humming by its recent standards.

“We didn’t play our best game,” James said.

Imagine what will happen if the Heat get more than 10 fastbreak points or doesn’t miss 20 of 25 3-pointers. That stuff didn’t matter in Game 1, and you got the feeling Miami could play far from flawless basketball the rest of the series and ease into the NBA Finals.

Of course, you probably had the same notion in the last series. Miami beat Indiana in Game 1. Then the Pacers won the next two and most of us were writing epitaphs for the Heat.

That’s the drastically swinging nature of a playoff series. So after Wednesday night’s Game 2, we might be marveling at the Celtics’ resiliency and declaring Panic Time in South Beach.

Cue more Pietrus:

“We’re going to get it right. Tomorrow is a new day…. I’m going to stay positive every hour, every minute, every second.”

You have to like his attitude. Pietrus stood in front of his locker and smiled after the game. The mood in the rest of the room wasn’t nearly as sunny.

Semi-spectacular Heat: James: 'We didn't play our best game'

Kevin Garnett had on his designer shades and muttered something about lack of aggression. Everybody knew the Celtics didn’t have great interior defense, but there’s no excuse for the free passes the Heat had at Boston’s basket. What can be done in Game 2?

“Nothing dirty,” Rajon Rondo said. “But those guys have got to hit the deck, too.”

Even if Boston’s defense goes WWE in Game 2, there’s still the issue of points. As in the Celtics can’t count on anybody except Garnett to deliver them right now. He had 23 points and 10 rebounds in Game 1, but his teammates didn't fare so well.

Paul Pierce is bothered by a left knee sprain. He missed 13 of 18 shots and had 12 points. Rondo struggled through an 8-of-20 night for 16 points. Then there’s poor Ray Allen, who is calcifying before our eyes.

He made one of seven shots Monday night and three of seven free throws. When a 90-percent career free-throw shooter suddenly needs tips from Dwight Howard, you know things are grim.

“I think Ray missed four free throws tonight,” Doc Rivers said. “I don’t think you’ll ever see that again.”

At least until Wednesday, unless the bone spurs in Allen’s right ankle suddenly dissolve.

“I believe you guys know what I’m dealing with,” he said. “There’s really nothing to talk about. It’s like a battle within myself that I have to try to win.”

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Effort will not be an issue. You know the Celtics will give it. They rallied from an early 11-point deficit Monday and actually made it 46-46 at halftime.

“They’re mentally tough,” James said. “One of the most mentally tough teams that we have in the league.”

That will count for something. But all the mental toughness in the world can’t turn back the clock or miraculously cure injuries. And despite the positive vibes Pietrus was sending to all who’d listen, you just know everything is not going to be all right.

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