NBA Playoffs: Miami Is Feeling the Heat Against the Boston Celtics

Darrell HorwitzSenior Writer IIJune 7, 2012

MIAMI, FL - DECEMBER 12:  LeBron James #6, Dwyane Wade #3, and Chris Bosh #1 of the Miami Heat poses during media day at American Airlines Arena on December 12, 2011 in Miami, Florida.  (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

The numbers just didn't add up Tuesday despite the Boston Celtics 94-90 victory over the Miami Heat. Looking at the box score and seeing Rajon Rondo shooting 3-15, Paul Pierce 6-19, and Ray Allen 2-9, along with Miami outrebounding the Celts by 10, you would think Miami would be ready to wrap up the series Thursday night.

Instead, they are on the brink of elimination. Can you imagine what the headlines will be on Friday if they lose to a Boston team most experts thought would be lucky to win one game?

I know they don't want to hear about that for another offseason—how they are chokers.

I'm also sure they don't want to hear everyone reveling in their misery again.

Despite LeBron James declaration last year where he alluded fans pulling against him would go back to their miserable lives while he lived like a king, you know he doesn't want to go out not even making  the finals this time.  

The pressure is on, and the collars are starting to tighten. It's the time when you separate the men from the boys, and the question is, "Are the Heat capable of winning the big one?"

They didn't show it last year against Dallas, and so far, they haven't showed it against Boston.

If not for the refs missing that call when Dwyane Wade clocked Rondo late in Game 2, this series might already be over. Boston has outplayed the Heat since the first game, and broke serve Tuesday night in Miami.

Now the Heat have to return the favor against a determined Boston team that knows this is their "last hurrah." Don't you think they would love to go out making the finals one last time and beating Miami to get there?

What they lack in youth, they make up in knowing how to win. Miami hasn't seemed to grasp that yet.

When James, Wade, and Chris Bosh conspired to play together after their contracts were up, they thought winning was the natural progression for them. They didn't realize having a recipe doesn't mean you have all the ingredients.

Sometimes things that work good separately don't mesh when you put them together.

Miami thrives when they are in the open court. There hasn't been a lot of that against Boston, and they don't seem to fit together well in the half court game.

Who controls the ball? Who takes the last shot? Who is the "Alpha Dog," and how does Bosh fit into this mix?

While LeBron won the MVP award for the third time this year, he seems reluctant to pull the trigger at the end of games, preferring to find an open teammate.

Is that because he feels it gives them the best chance to win, or is it because he's afraid to take that last shot?

You can't question how strong he is physically, but you can question his mental make-up.

There will be a lot of questions if Miami doesn't find a way to win this series.

It's the answers they might not like.