I’ve seen it so many times I knew what was going to happen. I told my friends the play before it even occurred. Paul Pierce caught it at the top of the key. Dribbled around, wasting time. Dribbled to his right, stepped to the right side with his left foot, used that left foot to propel him backwards and create separation, shot the fadeaway jumper. Splash. Game over. Did anyone not know what was coming?
With a three -zip lead on the line and Dwyane Wade in the opposing uniform, the Boston Celtics knew nothing was going to come easy. The series — and Miami’s season — was on the line, and Wade performed like a superstar should when his team stares a long summer in the face. Unfortunately for Wade and the Miami Heat, the Celtics have some stars too, and even the old ones have some gas left in the tank. Boston’s old geezers led the way to a 100-98 victory and a seemingly insurmountable 3-0 series lead.
Ray Allen brought the Celtics most of the way there, and The Truth set them free. Pierce’s buzzer-beater stole the headlines and the glory, but the rest of his second half was just as integral. Pierce ended with 32 points, creating his own offense like it was 2008. And Walter Ray Allen was Walter Ray Allen. 25 points for Ray, including an off-balance, on-the-move three-pointer to put the Celtics up one with only a couple minutes left. It was another clutch moment from Jesus, but would soon be overshadowed by Pierce’s dagger that — for all intents and purposes — put the Boston Celtics in the second round.
Other things happened, too. Dwyane Wade scored a lot of points (34), and then limped off the court after his final shot. Rajon Rondo had 17 points and 8 assists. Dorell Wright acted like he wasn’t Dorell Wright. Jermaine O’Neal somehow lowered his shooting percentage for the series (1-7 shooting). Michael Beasley awoke from his deep slumber. Miami’s bench outscored Boston’s, 39-10.
But none of it mattered. Not as much as Pierce’s game-winning, series-ending jumper at least. While the Celtics still need one more win to technically finish out the series, only one question remains for the C’s:
Can they beat Cleveland in the second round?