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Five thoughts from Game 1 of Celtics/Heat

Posted by Bill Koch on April 18, 2010

Tony Allen

The Boston Celtics waited until the third quarter to finally deliver on their promise to give a better effort in the postseason, but that was early enough to post a 85-76 victory over the Miami Heat in Game 1 of their Eastern Conference quarterfinal series. Here are five thoughts from the opener of the best-of-7 affair:

— Rajon Rondo can’t be stopped by anyone on Miami’s roster. Carlos Arroyo, Mario Chalmers and the rest of the Heat guards were helpless trying to keep Rondo out of the paint and Boston’s offense was better off because of it. The Celtics took just six 3-pointers and were 22-for-28 at the foul line, attempting more than twice as many free throws as the Heat, and most of that can be traced to Rondo’s ability to break down Miami’s guards off the dribble.

— A match-up between two guys from Chicago, Dwyane Wade and Tony Allen, might end up deciding this series. Allen hit for 14 points, a career playoff high, and Wade scored only 11 points in the 29 minutes that Allen was in the game. Boston was plus-17 with Allen in the game and Miami was minus-11 with Wade on the floor – the Celtics will take that ratio any day of the week and twice on Sunday.

— Boston still needs to do a better job on the boards. The Celtics gave up putback dunks by Udoinis Haslem and Michael Beasley in the second quarter, two of Miami’s 12 offensive rebounds in the game, while the Heat were racing out to their early lead. All the defensive effort in the world won’t help the Celtics if Miami can continually rebound its own misses.

— Paul Pierce is still the alpha dog on Boston’s roster. The Celtics looked to the captain to deliver after they fell behind by 14 midway through the third quarter and he responded, scoring 9 of his team-high 16 points during a 32-10 run that turned a 61-47 Boston deficit with 7:03 left in the third into a 79-71 Celtics’ lead with 3:13 to play in the fourth.

— Quentin Richardson is still the same thug who has slogged his way through four NBA teams since he was drafted 18th overall by the Los Angeles Clippers in 2000. Richardson started the fight that erupted in front of the Miami bench with 40 seconds to play, one that took place while Pierce was on the ground nursing a right shoulder injury. A famous line from one of my favorite films, A Bronx Tale, could double as the main idea for Richardson’s autobiography to this point – ‘The saddest thing in life is wasted talent.’ His career 40 percent shooting, 1.6 assists per game and general douchebaggery is enough to make any fan base weep a river of tears.

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