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Click on Heat Stand Tall, Celtics Hit the Deck for my column off last night's Game 2. I am duty-bound to offer the link, although, given the excruciating deadline situation, I felt like getting up at 5 a.m. and stealing papers off lawns like in that scene from Absence Of Malice. Also, I weighed phoning in a bomb threat to the Internet so nobody could read the column online either, but I couldnt find a phone number.
G2: HEAT 115, CELTICS 111 (OT): MIAMI SURVIVES 44 POINTS BY RONDO: Miami shot only 44 percent, missed 16 free throws, allowed Rajon Rondo to run wild for 44 points, but somehow still won. Credit the no-quit Celtics -- respect your elders! -- but credit Miami even more for prevailing on a night that Boston controlled for a long time. LeBron James did not shoot well (7-for-20) but got to the free-throw line 24 times and scored 34 points. Dwyane Wade shook off a 2-point first half to end with 23. And Mario Chalmers came up big (as he has much of this postseason) with 22. This loss has to be crushing for Boston, now down 2-0. What might be more depressing for this team than to know even 44 points by Rondo isn't enough? Pregame: San Antonio commands Oklahoma City 2-0 in the NBA's Western Conference finals and now Miami is about to pull the same number on Boston in the East tonight in the bayside gym. Heat won comfortably enough in Game 1 to take the foot off the gas late, and can't see much of a different result tonight. One change will be Boston's effort to defend the paint better. Heat was 21-for-27 inside Monday night including 19 dunks or layups. A more physical Leprechaun effort is in store, with Rajon Rondo generating much chatter asserting Heat players have "got to hit the deck." Then again the slightest breeze qualifies as tough talk in the playoffs, courtesy Your Friend the Media, which treats the mildest controversy like currency. As when Dwyane Wade responded, "We're not gonna let anyone come in and punk us." Ooo-oooh! (Aside to Boston with the let's-get-physical talk: Um ... how'd that work out for the Pacers?) The fact is Boston is just not a healthy team right now, aggravating the natural creakiness of age. Ray Allen can barely play on that ankle. Paul Pierce is obviously not himself. Avery Bradley's absence really hurts, especially defensively. Also, Kevin Garnett's scowl and demeanor reads tough guy, but he's content in his career's winter to settle for little jumpers and not take full advantage of his (theoretically) being the most dominant "big" in this series. It feels like the end is near for this era of Celtics basketball.
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