BOSTON - APRIL 17: Rajon Rondo #9 and Kevin Garnett #5 of the Boston Celtics get into it with Quentin Richardson #5, Udonis Haslem #40 and Mario Chalmers #6 of the Miami Heat during Game One of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals of the 2010 NBA playoffs at the TD Garden on April 17, 2010 in Boston, Massachusetts. Garnett was given a double technical foul on the incident. The Celtics defeated the Heat 85-76. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Rajon Rondo;Kevin Garnett;Udonis Haslem;Mario Chalmers
Welcome to playoff basketball, where a flying elbow heightens everything but the Heat's chances at a win tonight.
Which isn't to say they don't have any, because they do.The Heat are capable of taking this series; it's just that Boston losing Kevin Garnett to a one-game suspension doesn't do as much for Miami as it would seem.
For one, Garnett isn't what he once was, though Saturday night he was certainly effective when the Celtics' modified zone put him squarely in Dwyane Wade's path. For another, it was Tony Allen coming off the Boston bench who was the real Wade-slayer, as much as such a thing is even possible.
In three of Wade's final four possessions in the fourth quarter, T.A. provided single-coverage on Wade, with Miami sending no screener. On those possessions, Wade missed three shots: a pull-up three as T.A. prevented penetration, a turnaround jumper as T.A. backpedaled and prevented a layup, and a pull-up mid-range jumper as T.A. again kept Wade in front of him. Those possessions ended up deciding the game.
Of course, Allen is pretty crappy on the other end of the floor, so it's not as if the Heat can't capitalize on the Celtics' need to play him. But where Miami is entirely dependent on Wade, Boston has several who can ably fill in for the screaming, swinging asparagus watching at home.
"Rasheed [Wallace], I've had a history playing against him in the playoffs," Udonis Haslem said. "I know that he can play big time and make shots and get it done down there. [Glen Davis] played good for them last game. Kendrick Perkins has proven in the past to be a force against us in the paint. So we've still got our hands full. That doesn't change."
Oh, wait: Rasheed Wallace, you say? That just might change everything:
Yeah, might as well spot the Heat a bucket or two, and pencil this in as a W. Let's go Heat!
Janie Campbell is a Florida native who believes in the pro-set and ballpark hot dogs. Her work has appeared in irreverent sports sites around the internet.