When Paul Pierce drove a last-second knife through Miami’s hearts with no time left on the clock in Game Three, this series was over. Dwyane Wade or not, Miami ain’t coming back from a 3-0 deficit. Not a chance. No way. This one’s in the bag.
But the Boston Celtics still have to close it out, and they might as well do it today.
Paul Pierce told the Boston Globe, “I’m looking at it like it’s a 3-3 tie and this is a must game for us,” Pierce said. “We want to be desperate for this win. We don’t want them to come back to Boston with any kind of confidence. Because you never know what can happen in this league.”
But Pierce knows the series is over. He knows Boston isn’t going to lose four games in a row. Not to the Miami Heat, at least. The Heat gave Boston their best shot in Game Three, and the Celtics turned them aside. When Pierce’s buzzer-beating step-back jumper fell through the nets, Miami might as well have forfeited Game Four, just to save themselves some time, and turned their efforts toward resigning Dwyane Wade and surrounding him with some semblance of a supporting cast. Because advancing to the second round ain’t happening. Not for the Heat. Not this year. The Celtics are playing too well for the Heat to even contemplate a comeback.
The Celtics are playing so well, I almost wish they wouldn’t have such a long layoff after their next win closes out the 2010 Heat for good. “We’re playing well, really well,” explained Kendrick Perkins. “I think that’s a plus. I just feel like we’ve got to make sure we sustain how we play and keep a high energy and keep a great focus and play team ball. It’s just that time. It’s playoff time. It’s no excuses. I think we’ve all got the same agenda. I think we’re all trying to win as many games as possible and win a title.” The Celtics are finally building some rhythm, and I wish they didn’t have a week or so break after they officially delete the Heat. You can say the Celtics are old and could use some rest, and you’d be right. But the playoff schedule grants enough rest. Days off are normal, and back-to-backs are non-existent. The C’s will have plenty of rest, and I’d rather see them continue to build on the rhythm and confidence they’re finally starting to exhibit than see a long break potentially seize their momentum.
Barring a collapse by Cleveland against Chicago or an epic disaster of their own, the Celtics will be playing Lebron and his Merry Men in round two.
“At this point, I’m focused on the Heat, to best honest with you,” said Kevin Garnett. “I’m not looking past this game, so I’m not even going to indulge in conversation [about the future]. The focus right now is trying to win this Game 4 in Miami. That is the focus, not looking at what happens after this.”
But Garnett knows, as well as you and I do, that King James is on deck. That the focus will soon be trying to limit the game’s best player and destroy his supporting cast. That Antawn Jamison and Anderson Varejao will soon be Garnett’s matchup.
Will the Celtics have enough to beat LeCavs? Will a long rest hurt their momentum? Are they really as good as the Miami Heat have made them look?
I don’t know any of those answers, not yet, but we will finally be able to openly discuss them after Boston pummels Miami to finish only the fifth sweep in Celtics history.