The Boston Celtics original “Big Three” showed taking the title must be earned.
Their throwback style of play, reminds us of why the NBA still belongs to the Los Angeles Lakers and the aforementioned Eastern Conference Champions.
Just like the fictional triumvirate heroes of the 1974 blaxploitation film—Three the Hard Way, Ray Allen, Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce each brought their own unique style in the Celtic’s 112-107 victory over the Heat at American Airlines Arena.
Ray Allen played the role of Jim Kelley. Kelley specialized in the martial arts. Allen specialized in the clutch shooting, he hit 7-9 from the three-point line. He finished with thirty-five points, shooting 56% from the field.
Paul Pierce brought the Jim Brown vibe, with a tough defensive performance against LeBron James. Unlike the playoffs, where Pierce saw his scoring average drop, Boston’s original go-to man dropped in twenty-five points.
Garnett scrapped hard and played smart, staying out of foul trouble, while still grabbing a game-high thirteen rebounds and scoring sixteen points. The Big Ticket will therefore stand-in for Fred Williamson.
Boston scored 38 points in the paint. And their ball movement produced six more assists than the LeBron shouldered Heat offense.
The “King of South Beach” fell one assist short of a triple-double, scoring thirty-five points with nine assists and ten rebounds.
The Miami Heat need James to be near the triple double mark— but with less points. Truth be told, the Heat can get by with only 20 points per night from the “King”.
Like Kobe, LeBron James may need more time to learn how to make Dwayne Wade better, and vice versa.
James will have to work extremely hard on defense to beat the Celtics. Wade will have to have a yeoman's defensive effort to slow down Rondo; the Celtics scored nine more fast break points than the Heat.
LeBron James was the only Miami Heat starter to not have a negative plus-minus line. James ended the night at zero. Dwayne Wade ended the night at -17.
Dwayne Wade touched the ball very little, scoring eight points and committing six turnovers. But he played a total of forty minutes—compared to James’ forty-four.
LeBron always seemed to have the basketball. Dwayne Wade never found a rhythm.
Chris Bosh will unfairly suffer most of the public rebuke. Bosh came in being the third option.
Everyone knew he would be there to help LeBron and Dwayne—not carry the team in big games. Bosh will get judged unfairly, until the Big Two establish their identities.
The bench apparently knows their roles well. Udonis Haslem scored twenty-one points and tied James with a team-high ten rebounds. Eddie House added thirteen points.
A young coach will be tested as a leader as well. Phil Jackson struggled to finally teach Kobe the hard lessons of making other team members better.
Dwayne Wade got it done, but then the Shaq self-destruct mode kicked-in.
In the mean time, the Boston Celtics proved who holds the king’s crown in the NBA’s Eastern Conference.
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