"It's reality now. The chemistry isn't at the level of these good teams." So said LeBron James
following the Heat's 112-107 loss the Boston Celtics Thursday night at the American Airlines Arena. The Heat have now dropped 13 of the last 14 regular season meetings to the Celtics, have fallen to 5-4 on the season and are 0-2 in their last two games on their home court. EVERYBODY PANIC!
This was supposed to be the game where they were going to come out and show that the opening night loss to Boston was a fluke. And after the embarrassing meltdown against the Utah Jazz two nights ago, the Heat was expected to come out guns blazing like, say, Billy The Kid. Instead, they came out, lit the fuse and the bomb blew up in their faces like, say, Wile E. Coyote.
Boston's Rajon Rondo finished the night with 16 assists while Kevin Garnett had 16 points and 13 rebounds. Then there was Ray Allen, who hit seven threes in a row and finished the night with 35 points.
LeBron James came within one assist of completing a second-straight triple double with 35 points, 10 rebounds, and 9 assists. Dwyane Wade, on the other hand, turned in a very un-Dwyane Wade-like performance, going a measly 2-for-12 shooting for 8 points.
A new look Heat team, and they still can't figure Boston out. At one point, Erik Spoelstra seemed to say fuck it, and threw every available Heat player at the Celtics. Jerry Stackhouse logged in some playing time, for crapsake. But it was never enough. Miami trailed after the first quarter by 12, 15 at the half, and 20 at the end of the third.
Boston is better than Miami. That much is clear. And it's also clear that the C's aren't just going to hand the Eastern Conference title over without a fight.
The Heat are 1-4 against "quality" teams and stand at 5-4 on the season. Still, one can't help but wonder if Wade had just been on his game, how different things might have been. 2-for-12 is not going to be the norm for D3, you can be sure of that. We know what LeBron can do against the C's.
Still, that won't stop the knee-jerk contingency from being all angry and stabby with this team. Some will call for Spolestra's head, while others will insist that the answer lies in trading Wade somewhere for a center of some kind. Should be a pleasant round of debates where rational conversations and counterpoints will be made by all. Here's to you, Miami sports talk radio!