Starting 5: Too much Heat, Not enough Harden, & Rondo wants bodies on the floor


Every morning, we’ll give you five things from the night before in the NBA to start your day.

1:  Miami too much in Game 1

The Boston Celtics needed a lot of things to go right to steal Game 1, and very little of it did.  Aside from Kevin Garnett having another strong performance (23 points, 10 rebounds), the Celtics were taken out of their comfort zone by a tough Miami defense, led by, who else, LeBron James and Dwyane Wade. 

Wade and James, beyond combining for 54 of Miami’s 93 points, also combined for five blocks, two steals, and countless changes of plan, especially when it comes to Rajon Rondo’s aggressiveness.  Shane Battier chipped in nicely with 10 points, 10 rebounds, and a couple of blocks of his own.  Miami blocked 11 of Boston’s shots, holding them to 39.5% shooting. 

Offensively, Miami patiently waited for Boston’s stingy defense to show weaknesses, and they attacked relentlessly when they did.  And while there will be a lot of chatter today about technical fouls (which were, in fact, mostly suspect), that had nothing to do with the 49 shots the Celtics missed or 15 more rebounds Miami got (13 offensive, 3 more than Boston).  The Celtics needed to be perfect to win this, and they were far from it.

2:  Thunder need more from Harden

The Oklahoma City Thunder will need more from James Harden tonight if they’re going to make this the seven game series everyone is waiting, and hoping for.  The San Antonio Spurs are too deep a team for OKC to rely on just two guys for their offense.  Said Harden

“I think this entire postseason, even in the regular season, the fourth quarter, the majority of the time, I have the ball in my hands and making plays,” Harden said. “Hopefully, we’ll get back to that.”

Harden needs to be more than an observer out there.  He also needs to be patient when creating offense.  The Spurs will take advantage of all miscues, and forcing the issue is exactly what will feed Spurs runs to put games away.  Panic will result in pain.   The good news for OKC is they did have a lead for a large portion of the game.  The bad news is, San Antonio played pretty poorly and still won.  

I don’t think we’ll see 14 first half turnovers from San Antonio tonight.  But will we see a different OKC team down the stretch? 


Rondo with the great move, LeBron with the better block


Dwyane Wade with the acrobatic finish

Wade finds LeBron for the touchdown

4:  Line of the Night:  LeBron James 32 points, 13 rebounds, 3 assists, 3 blocks, 1 steal

LeBron’s defense, more than anything, stood out in this game.  Paul Pierce shot 5-18 for 12 points and never looked comfortable at all.  And while some of that, in particular, was Shane Battier, LeBron was also there to protect the paint and make life hell for the Celtics.  

5:  You can quote me on that

We can’t beat this team by giving them layups. I thought they did a real good job of being aggressive, getting to the basket. I thought in the first half we did a decent job of keeping them floating a little bit, and second half they just got what they wanted. We’ve got to be more disciplined on defense and believe in it.”
     -Kevin Garnett, after Game 1 

“I know mine wasn’t (deserved). I can tell you that much.  I don’t know how long I’ve been in this league, but that has to rank as the worst I’ve ever had. I would have loved to earn it.”
     -Celtics coach Doc Rivers, on his technical foul 

“I mean, nothing dirty, but you know, they have to hit the deck, too.”
     -Rajon Rondo, on slowing down Miami