Since trailing the Indiana Pacers 2-1 in the Eastern Conference semifinals what seems like a few months ago now, the Miami Heat’s play has been, well, hot. Scorching hot. Unbeatable hot.
That did not bode well for the Pacers the rest of that series and it did not bode well for the Boston Celtics Monday night in Game 1 of the conference finals in Miami. The results were similar to what Indiana experience: utter dominance led by the most dynamic tandem in the NBA, LeBron James and Dwyane Wade.
Those two were again brilliant, and the Heat took a 1-0 series lead with a 93-79 Game 1 victory.
James had 32 points 13 rebounds and Wade scored 22, 10 in the fourth quarter, when Miami sealed the game. That makes four dominating games by the Heat in general and Wade and James in particular since Indiana seemingly exposed weaknesses.
“Let Wade and LeBron play in extreme comfort,” Boston coach Doc Rivers said. “And then the other players hurt us, too.”
Those other players included Shane Battier, who had 10 points and 10 rebounds and was usually strong defensively. And in the first half, Mike Miller contributed eight key points.
Still it was tied at 46-46 at halftime. But Boston, which was led by Kevin Garnett’s 23 points and 10 rebounds and 16 points by Rajon Rondo, just did not have the foot speed to effectively handle Miami on either end of the floor.
“I never thought we got into our rhythm,” River said. “And they got way too many layups. There’s no way any team should get that many layups against our defense.”
Game 2 is Wednesday again in Miami. Maybe by then Boston will have figured a way to cool off the Heat.