Is anyone else getting the sense that the Miami Heat are eerily similar to the Cleveland Cavaliers of the past two seasons? I mean, they can win the games they are supposed to win but when it comes down to crunch time against the league’s best, they just can’t seem to get it done. Well, if you are like me in this thinking, then Sunday’s 85-82 loss to the Boston Celtics was a prime example of what we’re talking about.
The loss, which puts the Heat at a pathetic 0-3 against the Celtics this season, was one that could have very easily been a win for Miami. The game was there for the taking, only the Heat didn’t seem to want it as Dwayne Wade deferred down the stretch to LeBron James and James (who appeared disinterested the entire game…a sight I’m used to seeing) missed a clutch free throw with 12 seconds left that allowed the Celtics to traipse away with a win.
"They are the defending Eastern Conference champions. You have to go through them, and they ain’t going to make it easy," Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. "We understand that this isn’t going to be an easy ride for us, and that’s where we’re at our best."
If the performance Sunday was their best, then the Heat are in serious trouble as they couldn’t top a Boston team that featured a super cold Paul Pierce. Pierce went 0-10 with 1 point in the game and never seemed to get into any groove in the 40 minutes he was on the floor. Boston used a 20-3 run to start the third quarter to take control of the game from Miami and was able to fend off the heat the rest of the way to win their their 12th of the past 13 over the Heat.
"We definitely dug ourselves a hole," James said. "We can’t expect to come into Boston and turn the ball over 12 times in the first half. We also can’t afford to come in in the third quarter and not have our motor going and let them go on a 20-3 run to start the quarter. I feel 10 times out of 10 you’re going to lose those games."
The win for Boston could prove pivotal come playoff time as it gives the Celtics the tiebreaker over the Heat and between these two teams, home court could prove the difference in a series.
"They’re going to be a different team in March and April, the more important months, when we’ll probably have to see them again," said Paul Pierce. "It gives us the series in case something happens with a tiebreaker."