By Matt Noonan
Remember Game 7 of the NBA Finals between the Boston Celtics and Los Angles Lakers in 2010? What happened during the final four minutes in regulation?
Well, in case you forgot, the Boston Celtics ran out of gas and allowed the Los Angles Lakers to comeback and win their 16th NBA Championship. Although, on Wednesday, it was as if Boston was reliving the nightmare, but this time, LeBron James was playing the role of Kobe Bryant.
The Miami Heat tore apart the aging Celtics in Game 5, as well as punched their ticket to the Eastern Conference Finals for the first time since 2006 with a convincing 97-87 win. James finished the game with 33 points, seven rebounds and four assists, while his partner in crime, Dwyane Wade added 34 points, 10 rebounds, five assists and four steals.
As for Boston, they watched Ray Allen lead the Celtics with 18 points, while Kevin Garnett added 15 points and collected 11 rebounds. Also, the Celtics received some additional help from their bench during the third and fourth quarter, as Delonte West finished the game with 10 points and Jeff Green added an additional nine points.
Although, while this loss is certainly painful, it’s pretty easy to state, we saw this coming.
Against the New York Knicks in the opening round of the NBA playoffs, the Celtics displayed their age and tired legs, but were able to sneak past a banged up squad that didn’t even have a healthy Amare Stoudemire. Boston got lucky by sweeping the Knickerbockers in four games, but knew that Miami wasn’t going to be an easy foe.
Miami immediately took control in Game 1, which set the tone for the entire series. The Heat ended up winning the first two games, but lost to Boston in Game 3 at the TD Garden. However, they bounced back two days later and then won again.
The Celtics also witnessed their major contributors, such as Rajon Rondo, Shaquille O’Neal, Paul Pierce, Allen and West either sustain injuries or re-aggravate their ailing bones and muscles.
Boston will now head into the off-season with a lot of questions, such as; will Doc Rivers return to the bench next season as the head coach? What should the Celtics do with Shaq and Jermaine O’Neal? What battled tested free agent veterans can the Celtics scoop up? Also, can the “Big-3” win one more championship?
There certainly is a lot that has to happen if Boston wants to return to the NBA Championship, but after losing to LeBron James and the Miami Heat, I’d say, it’s time to sit back and reflect on the past season.
Indeed, it was a fun run, but certainly not the finish the Celtics and their fans expected, but hey, this is what makes sports so enjoyable, right?