The other team in Florida might be named the Magic and the former NBA great and current analyst might be called Magic, but what Lebron James did last night in Boston was pure Magic. With 45 points, 15 rebounds and 5 assists in Miami’s crucial 98-79 romp of Boston, Lebron put himself in the record books as one of the only two players in playoff history to boast those types of numbers. The other man was a guy called Wilt Chamberlain…have you heard of him? At halftime, with a 13 point lead over Boston, Lebron told ESPN reporter Doris Burke that he did not plan on coming out of this game at all. James shot 19 of 26 from the field and finished four points shy of his playoff career-high, while only sitting for the final 3 minutes of the game because it was long over.
I know I rag on Lebron a lot, along with the rest of the world, but James set that shit up for himself. He played with America’s minds and decided to go to a powerhouse stacked team rather than have a franchise built around him. Regardless of if you like him in Miami or not, his decision was cowardly. When I rip Lebron on the regular, it is usually about his lack of finishing out the fourth quarter strong. Now James might have done the majority of his scoring and stat building in the first 3 quarters, but to me that was a great strategy. He didn’t give himself a chance to blow it in the final minutes. James was smart enough to completely take over the game for the first 3 quarters so he wouldn’t have to worry about closing crunch time minutes. All jokes aside, Lebron put on one of the most dominant playoff game performances I have ever seen…and it made me sick. Saturday night in Miami should be a good one for the fans.
It must be tough on the Boston faithful to see their Celtics lose on their home court like this. Even their mayor seems to really be supporting their team and star players “KJ” and “Hondo,” as he has with other Boston sports teams. Take a look:
“KG” and “Rajon Rondo” were not Boston’s problem last night. I would have to take credit for yet another curse I inflicted on a player. Paul “The Truth” Pierce had his worst game in the 2012 playoffs with a pathetic 4-18 shooting and a minimal 9 points. The aging Celtics finally showed their age last night as they looked sluggish up and down the court while James absolutely took advantage of their spotty play all night. I rarely, if ever, pray for anything Boston but I would love to see them put up a good fight Saturday in Miami. Here are the highlights from last night’s game:
Many years ago in 2001, a man named Shaquille O’Neal was playing the Boston Celtics as a member of his soon to be Champion LA Lakers. After finishing off what was a 112-107 victory over the Celtics, Shaq pulled a Boston reporter over to him during the post games interviews and said, “My name is Shaquille O’Neal and Paul Pierce is the fucking truth. Quote me on that and don’t take nothing out. I knew he could play, but I didn’t know he could play like this. Paul Pierce is the truth.” Hence the nickname “The Truth” was born and has stuck through the 10-time NBA all-stars career. Last night was just another indication of why Shaq believed his statement to be true. In a 1 point game with just under a minute to play and the shot clock winding down, Pierce pulled up for a 3-pointer over James and drained it.
When James saw that ball caress the nylon as it went through the hoop, the look on his face was priceless. It was as if he had never seen a clutch fourth quarter shot go through the net before. Last night’s 94-90 Boston victory over the Heat was a backbreaking one for the Miami faithful. How can a team that just over a year ago promised all of its fans not 1, not 2, not 3, not 7…championships but more, be one game away from being eliminated from the playoffs in the Eastern Conference Finals? How can a player who had 30 points and 13 rebounds look like he was a role player throughout the fourth quarter of a game 5 where the series is tied 2-2? How could a team that was down 2-0 in a series and had all the critics writing them off for their age and their opponents talents, be on the verge of their 3rd Finals appearance in 4 years? The answer to all of these questions is simple. The Boston Celtics veterans are clutch and Lebron James is not.
This series is heading back to Boston on Thursday night and it should be a great one. Check out the highlights of last night’s game and see what the difference between a great player and a great player that is clutch is.
In 2008, the Boston Celtics put together an incredible team with 3 future Hall of Famers to win the Championship. Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, and Ray Allen played their hearts out while they all tried to win their first ring. When Garnett and Allen signed with the Celtics in the off-season there were a lot of expectations placed on their team to win it all, which is never a good thing…ask Miami. What people didn’t talk about was this young and athletic point guard from Kentucky that was helping lead the Celtics to their first title since Larry Bird brought their last one home in 1986. (If it wasn’t for Bill Buckner, 1986 would have been a perfect year for the city of Boston.)
The biggest stigma placed on Boston in that 2008 season was their supposed lack of a point guard. Little did everyone know that they were sitting on a goldmine. Rajon Rondo quickly quieted all the skeptics with his fearless driving to the hole and smooth, precision passing. Fast-forward over 4 years later and now the stigma has been placed on “The Old Big 3,” while Rondo is now considered the team’s sole savior. In 2008, if Allen, Pierce and Garnett shot a pathetic 16 of 42 from the field and combined for a dismal 44 points, I can guarantee that they would not have won a playoff game. Well, that is exactly what happened last night in Boston’s 85-75 game 7 win against the offensively challenged Philadelphia 76ers. There was one reason and one reason alone that Boston won last night’s series clinching game, and his name is Rajon Rondo. Rondo posted a triple-double for his third time in this seasons playoffs and his eighth ever in the post-season. These playoff triple-doubles put Rondo in an incredibly elite class of players, tied with Oscar Robertson and trailing only players that you might have heard of like Magic Johnson, Jason Kidd, Larry Bird and Wilt Chamberlain for most ever.
As the 21st pick of the NBA draft in 2006 by the Phoenix Suns, there were not many expectations that came with Rajon Rondo into the league. Phoenix actually shipped him to Boston for a protected future top 10 pick. Turns out that wasn’t the best move. Rondo has quickly established himself as a premier PG and is arguably the best passer in the game. His next match-up against the Miami Heat in the Eastern Conference Finals is going to be a HUGE stage for him to prove his prowess.
Although I hate all things Boston, especially the Celtics, I think I hate “Team Flop-a-Lot,” a.k.a Miami Heat, much more. I would like to see the veterans on Boston pull out a win in this series, but my professional opinion is that Miami will win this series in 6. You can read about why in my Eastern Conference Finals preview article tomorrow.