Both teams played hard. Both teams played hard. Both teams played hard.
I hate to make this all about the officiating, which is unfair and short-sighted, but that’s basically what happens in this post. Sorry. I was… dismayed. Oh, and anyone who wants to take the time to write a comment about how this sort of thing happens all the time, and I shouldn’t write a post about it, I’d like to remind you that this is my blog, and you’re entirely welcome not to write about this sort of thing in whatever social outlet you choose not to write about things. It’s a free country for everyone not to address whatever topics they feel don’t deserve their attention. God bless America.
Anyway, we’ll pick up our tale late in the fourth quarter…
Pierce fouled out when an out of control meteorite in a #3 jersey crashed into him (Wade was not even facing the rim). Paul, as far as I could tell in live action and the replay, jumped directly upwards. Van Gundy concurred, if I recall. That’s two foul outs by Pierce in these playoffs on the tough side of tough calls. I know Wade gets that whistle regularly, and you have to live with it especially when Pierce leaves his feet, but in that moment my TV blushed because I was swearing at it so bad. Pierce plays physical D and is in jeopardy of picking up a lot of fouls in this series against quick, aggressive Miami wings. Doc actually hid him on Battier in the 4th quarter but he still picked up too many. It’s OK. Both teams played hard.
And frankly, Boston needs to get the reaching and needless holding early in the game under control. Those stupid fouls add up, and they are just too thin to have starters riding the pine at the end of the game because they pick up useless personals early. Miami would have been in trouble without all the free throws Boston was handing them, because they couldn’t make a shot (except Haslem) in the last 5 minutes. In fact…
We talking ’bout LeBron missing two game winners in a game. Not in a practice. Not practice. I’m talking about a game. Not practice. Really that was rough. He missed one at the rim, and then, after the offensive board, he missed a jumper over the six-foot Rondo.
Rondo had a great start to the overtime, but he looked EXHAUSTED. He didn’t get to sit for a second all game. Another problem with being paper thin. And he fouled the hell out of LeBron on that tie up that led to the jump ball, but James won the tip, and the Heat scored on the possession anyway. In fact if Rondo had just held his position, he and KG had Bron trapped with no good passing lanes prior to the jump
The next play changed the game. It didn’t determine the outcome exactly, but it ratcheted the difficulty for Boston up above Inferno-mode. Rondo got hit in the face, hard, while shooting a twisting layup. There was no call. The missed layup led to a 5 on 4 transition opportunity for Miami and a dunk for Haslem instead of free throws for Rondo. Potentially a four point swing (if Rondo made the free throws). But you know, Wade doesn’t commit fouls when he’s trying to block a shot (here’s where I go off the rails – you might want to skip to the stat-notes).
Come to think of it, aren’t hits to the head supposed to be automatic flagrant fouls? Isn’t that the letter of the law? Now if we take away the transition dunk by Haslem, give Rondo his free throws and give Boston the ball out of bounds after the freebies as the rules require (I’m pretty sure it’s an auto-flagrant for headshots), then that’s potentially a 6 or even 7 point swing, and a foul stoppage there gives the Celtics another opportunity to set up their half court D. I’ll take this moment to mention that the Heat only won by 4 points. And isn’t the spirit of the rules in place to protect players who are driving or jumping and therefore defenseless? So that was a pretty game changing non-call. I’m not crying conspiracy or anything. I just think it was a fast play where Wade got the benefit of the doubt because of his reputation as a help defender, and it may have swung the game. No big deal. It was just Boston’s best chance to win a road game in the series. It’s not like home teams who win the first two games in a 7 game series go on to win almost every time. Is there a sarcasm font I could use here?
Quick aside – Ever wonder why Wade has so many more blocks than other taller, equally athletic guards with great defensive chops? I don’t want to put any ideas in your heads, but I’ll just mention that if some of those blocks were changed to personal fouls, his ratio of blocks to fouls would fall more in line with the Jordans, Bryants, and Drexlers of the world. But hey, it’s probably just that at 6′ 3″ and needing to leap 44″ in the air every time he blocks a shot, Wade has superhumanly better timing than the best defensive wings of all time. Obviously. Damn, I need that sarcasm font!
Really that wasn’t so bad. I didn’t talk about LeBron James shooting 24 free throws, an incredibly rare feat. I could have whined a lot more about things like that!
Stat note: Rondo had his best scoring game ever tonight with 44 points.
Stat note 2: LeBron had yet another 30 point 10 rebound night. His 6th of these playoffs.