Dwyane Wade wasn’t quite as amazing tonight as he was on Sunday when he scored 46 points on 16-of-24 shooting, including 5-of-7 from downtown while grabbing five rebounds and dishing out five assists in Miami’s incredible Game Four 101-92 win over Boston.
That proved fatal for the Heat, as they fell 96-86 to the Celtics in a gut-wrenching loss that ended their season on the TD Banknorth parquet.
That’s not to say D-Wade wasn’t remarkable, as he scored 31 points on 10-of-24 shooting to go along with eight rebounds and 10 assists, nearly notching a triple-double on the night.
However, unlike Sunday, where he yelled at his right hand after making five three-pointers out of seven, tonight only two of the seven he attempted fell through.
That, combined with the continued pathetic play of Jermaine O’Neal, Quentin Richardson, and Michael Beasley, spelled Miami’s doom.
O’Neal was a particular disappointment in these playoffs, as he once again seemed unable to put the ball in the hoop no matter how hard he tried, going 3-of-10 for a measly seven points to go along with his paltry four rebounds.
Coming into tonight’s game, he was only averaging 3.5 PPG on 17.7% shooting, which makes his offensive output tonight an actual improvement if that can be believed.
Frankly, it’s an embarrassment, and I can’t imagine any Heat fan wanting him back in a Miami uniform next season, at any price.
Michael Beasley was even worse, scoring just two points on 0-of-3 shooting from the field and 2-of-2 from the line in 13:34 minutes.
While I won’t say I, or any Miami Heat fan will want Beasley gone next year, he needs to find something within himself in order to live up to the expectations he, and his fans, have placed on him.
Right now, I’d say nothing’s guaranteed with him, but an improved cast of players around him, including the possibility of someone like LeBron James on the roster, would definitely take a lot of the pressure off of him to perform.
About the only bright spot among the rest of the Miami Heat tonight, was Mario Chalmers, who was the only player other than Wade to score in double-figures, with 20 points on 6-of-13 shooting from the field and 5-of-6 from the line.
Before anyone believes I’m thinking this was all Miami’s loss, let me clear this up, this was Boston’s win. The four stars of the Celtics played their asses off, and deserved this win completely.
Rajon Rondo was scintillating, scoring 16 points on 6-of-16 shooting, and nearly getting a triple-double himself grabbing eight rebounds and dishing out 12 assists.
His teammates were equally great, with Paul Pierce scoring 21 points on 8-of-13 shooting to go along with seven rebounds and six assists, Ray Allen scoring 24 points on 9-of-15 shooting to go along with three rebounds and three assists, while Kevin Garnett looked great dropping in 14 points on 4-of-8 shooting while snatching eight rebounds.
What it came down to was Boston’s “team” wanted this more than Miami’s. They didn’t want it more than Dwyane Wade, but as a team they definitely wanted this win more than Miami’s players.
As heartbreaking as this loss is, though, I’ve already written about how much hope South Florida fans should be feeling about this franchise and Miami sports in general.
Yes, we’ve lost the series. Boston will be moving on, and truthfully, I’ll be rooting them on against the Cavaliers in hopes they’ll send LeBron James home early too (which will make it that much easier for D-Wade and Pat Riley to convince him to join them down in Miami).
Frankly, I wouldn’t mind seeing Boston win another title, and saying you lost to the eventual champions does tend to take the sting out of such a horrible loss.
So, congratulations to the Boston Celtics. Here’s wishing you and your fans the best moving forward.
The Miami Heat and their fans will have to wait until next year to do any celebrating, but I have the feeling that celebrating is gonna begin as soon as the Free Agent Bonanza is done.
Riles is about to build a dynasty in South Beach that will rival that of any we’ve ever seen. I trust in that, and so should all Miami fans.