Fast Breaks: Heat-Celts, Game 2
Glen Davis stepped up in Kevin Garnett's absence and delivered a big game
Ray Allen's three-point shooting eliminated all hope of a Heat comeback
If the Heat are to get back in the series, Dwyane Wade will need some help
BOSTON -- With Paul Pierce providing a slight 13 points and Kevin Garnett nowhere to be found, the unpredictable Celtics clobbered Miami 106-77 Tuesday to seize a heavy-handed 2-0 lead in the series.
Is Garnett the new Wally Pipp? The Heat believed they were on the verge of stealing homecourt advantage in the absence of Garnett, who was suspended for delivering a boneheaded Game 1 elbow to Quentin Richardson's head. Instead, the silliness inspired KG's stand-in Glen Davis to produce 23 points and eight rebounds while ceaselessly attacking the basket in spite of his diminutive (and exaggerated) 6-foot-9 length. The "Ticket Stub," as Davis referred to himself a half-dozen times in his postgame news conference (in deference to Garnett's role as "The Big Ticket"), kept up his stubborn attack even as Miami was blocking five of his shots; through three quarters he had outscored the entire Heat roster 9-8 from the free throw line. "That's a case of one man impacting the game simply with his effort," said Heat coach Erik Spoelstra. "I don't think they ran one play for him -- I would be shocked if they had a play in their playbook for Glen Davis. You cannot let a man's effort exceed yours, it's as simple as that."
Even so, the Heat were up 29-25 early in the second quarter when his effort wore them down and out: Over the next 16:32 the Celtics outscored them 44-8, and Davis was responsible for launching that marathonish sprint. At 289 pounds, he was outrunning and outworking everyone, routinely beating his opponents down the floor to establish early post position. When he dived for a loose ball the thump was heard on the ninth floor in the hockey press box. When he was tripped up and landed on top of flattened Heat guard Mario Chalmers, the foul was assessed to Chalmers; Davis then finished the possession with a lefty layup to boost the Celtics lead to 64-37.
Ray Allen's heat. Though Allen had no shots in the first quarter, Celtics coach Doc Rivers insisted his teammates keep setting screens to spring him open. Any dreams the Heat had of recovering from their 49-33 halftime deficit were incinerated by Allen, who torched them by going 5-of-6 from the three-point line in the third quarter. All five were struck from the edge of the Miami bench, not far from where Garnett earned his suspension. The final box lists Allen as 7-of-9 from the arc for 25 points in 33 minutes; through three quarters the Celtics were 9-of-12 from that distance while outshooting Miami 50.9 percent to 37.3 percent overall before the entire fourth quarter was allotted to garbage time.
Allen and Davis benefited from ball movement that resulted in assists for all but 10 of Boston's 36 field goals. "Baby was great because he was a byproduct of the passing from our bigs," said Rivers. "The reason he made layups was because (Kendrick Perkins) and Paul and Ray were so unselfish tonight, it made everybody pretty tough to guard." Note, too, that instead of trying to elevate his scoring to account for Garnett's absence, point guard Rajon Rondo produced 12 assists while limiting himself to six points.
Dwyane Wade needs help. Before the game Spoelstra said, "The biggest misnomer about our team is that Dwyane has to score 40 for us to win, and that simply hasn't been the case since the All-Star break." The playoffs may call for a different strategy, however. When Boston went up 71-39 midway through the third quarter, Wade had provided no more than 10 points on 10 shots and he did not appear engaged. He would finish with 29, but most of them were meaningless points.
Afterwards forward Michael Beasley (19 points on 22 shots over the two games) admitted that the Heat had been arguing amongst themselves during their collapse. "There's always going to be disagreements when things are not going right," said Wade. "In this league you can't hold grudges. It's not going to be pats on the back when you're losing by 30. Yeah, there was some things said to guys, but it's been like that all year. We just got to bounce back from it."
When asked if Beasley needed to provide more production, Wade was abrupt. "I'm tired of answering questions about Beasley not doing this, not doing that," said Wade. "It's on Michael."
How does Miami recover? Spoelstra will preach that Boston held its homecourt and that the Heat can work themselves back into the series by doing the same in Games 3 and 4. "It was a very embarrasing game," he said. "And now the next step for us is that mental toughness, that mental stability ... As soon as we went on that (second-quarter) drought, our minds were shot."
Boston can't let up. Boston is now 5-0 against the Heat this season, and the Celtics head to Miami confident with the knowledge they were a better team on the road than at home this season, and they'll enter Game 3 Friday with a rested and inspired Garnett. The next two games will be of enormous importance to a Celtics team that dreams of playing into championship form during the postseason. An impressive closeout in four or five games will give them hope going into the anticipated next round against the Cavs. "We do that by staying focused -- we have to," said Rivers. "All we've done is won two home games. We just have to focus on our job. We have not been good at that -- we have not been -- and so it will be a good test for us."
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