Rarely is anything new learned by the time the NBA Conference Finals roll around, but just as the 2012 NBA season proved a wild ride of improbable proportions the postseason has been just as eye opening. This has especially been the case in the Eastern Conference, where the Miami Heat opened the series with a resounding win over the Boston Celtics. Heat tickets are available to see if these observations hold true for Game 2.
Miami Heat – LeBron and D Wade are better without Bosh
A few years ago NBA experts and pundits (they are not always one and the same) called for the expansion of the court. The height of the average player had simply become so excessive that the width of the court hardly seemed fair. The casual NBA fan might have been perplexed given the dearth of seven-footers, quality or otherwise, in the league. In reality there have always been very few players of such height in the league. Yet, the average height and wingspan of the players from 1 to 4 has exploded (6’4’’ to 6’7’’).
How does this relate to the Miami Heat and its two superstars? Without Bosh it seems like LeBron and Wade have more room to punish the opposition. I postulate that it is not simply a greater effort but the better spacing created by the subtraction of Bosh that allows King James and Wade to take turn scoring 40 points a night. Erik Spoelstra now goes to war with Ronny Turiaf and Shane Battier in the front court. Both players are actually undersized for their position, yet this lineup has delivered four straight victories.
Boston Celtics – Ray Allen is done
There is no reason to address the turning over of the team MVP trophy to Rajon Rondo. That has been evident for the last couple of seasons. The Big Three have been the Big four for some time now. It just may be time to shrink that number back to three with the expulsion of Allen from the list. Doc Rovers moved the pure shooter to the bench upon his return from injury this season and most of us ate it up as giving his second line an offensive punch (while acknowledging Avery Bradley’s elevated play). This postseason has featured Ray Allen shooting 39 percent from the floor, 26.8 percent from three, and 60 percent from the free throw line.
Allen’s last star-worthy performance came back in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals in which he scored 17 points on 7 of 14 shooting, including 2 of 6 from downtown. This sudden fall from grace is not because of any less purity of his shooting from the waist up, but the crippling effects of bone spurs. His legs are gone and that is the equivalent of a boxer losing his punch. The Celtics are almost assuredly not bringing him back for next season but are praying he is able to play through what must be excruciating pain and both hit the jumpers necessary to keep a jump-shooting team alive and stay in front of the physically punishing Dwyane Wade.