Things did not go too well for the Boston Celtics in Miami on Sunday afternoon in Game 1 of the NBA Eastern Conference's second round series, beginning with its 14-point first quarter. They rebounded well, and Ray Allen had an awesome game, but those two major positives, and a few good runs, were not enough to help them overcome a relentlessly large deficit.
Here are some suggestions for coach Doc Rivers and the team:
1. Bench Big Baby (Glen Davis)
He did great at the start of the year, and he may have finished fourth in the Sixth Man of the Year voting, but Baby has become a liability in this stretch run. On defense, he was out of position and late on plays near the hoop today. At one point, Dwayne Wade drove strong on his defender, and Big Baby was looking the other way until he turned around at the last second and saw Wade coming, unable to do anything. On offense, Baby didn't have energy. Don’t keep relying on him, Doc. Play Jermaine O’Neal and KG (Kevin Garnett) for size, and Jeff Green and Delonte West off the bench. That’s all. Baby isn’t helping.
2. Please Take On Mike Bibby
Rajon Rondo, age 25 and in his prime, should be breaking down this, the Heat’s calcified, headband-wearing point guard (age 32 going on 33 later this month) time after time down the court. But Rondo did not attack nearly enough today. And when he did get near the hoop, he again was reluctant to shoot, instead tossing it out to the 3-point line. If you’re going to work that hard to get to the basket, Rondo, then attempt the layup, perhaps in one of your artful ways to get around bigger defenders if you need to. But don’t go back to square one.
3. Guard James Jones
You can’t let the other team’s three-point specialist get five open looks from downtown, and torch you for 25 points.
4. Stay Angry
The Celtics summoned some pride and played hard the last seven minutes of the game, after Paul Pierce was ejected for, you know, setting a pick. They’ll need more of that, and to play a bit rough on the Heat, in Game 2. Miami’s big men are not imposing (despite all the TV plaudits for “role player extraordinaire” Joel Anthony). If the Celtics play hard, and shove the Heat around some, they can take Game 2, and set the tone for the rest of the series.