Wade: Pressure's on KG-less Celtics, not Heat, in Game 2
BOSTON -- An upset is there for Miami to grab, and
He was speaking before news broke Sunday night the NBA had suspended Garnett for Game 2 after the cameras captured him elbowing Miami's
Miami looked horrible while missing 25 of its final 31 shots and surrendering that 14-point lead over the closing 19 minutes. That loss was Miami's fourth straight this season to Boston, and yet Wade is convinced he and his teammates are close to turning the series their way.
"It's not a big adjustment,'' he said. "Coming off the little scrum we had, the biggest adjustment is going to be,
After their 29-31 start through February, it's easy to dismiss the Heat's season-ending run of 12 wins in 13 games because 10 of the opponents were headed for the lottery. But that doesn't account for the bigger picture of the final standings: The Heat finished but three games behind Boston, despite fielding a less talented roster loaded with expiring contracts. The obvious conclusion is that Miami did more with its talent than Boston this season, while playing at a higher level defensively than the Celtics.
Can Miami control its emotions? It's a fair concern, but the same question should be asked of the Celtics after their Hall of Fame leader threw an elbow that he knew would result in his suspension. "I'm smarter than that,'' said Garnett after Game 1.
One glaring reason the Celtics have underperformed while going 27-28 since Christmas? They've often reacted rashly or passively when under pressure. Coach
"I just told them I thought we were hanging our heads and we were quitting,'' said Rivers after Game 1. "Whether things are going right or not, we can't be a team that functions only when things are going our way. I think this was a good win for us in that way, that we showed some resolve, something that in the second half of the year we haven't had. When teams have made runs at us, we've been a team that's made one effort and then we kind of [say] it's too hard. Well, [Saturday] we didn't do that. We hung in there long enough, we found the right combination on the floor and we turned the game around.''
Wade credited that turnaround to the bench play of
Is Boston's second-half comeback the beginning of a new trend -- and will the Celtics be able to maintain that trend in spite of Garnett's error in judgment? Or will Wade be able to harness his teammates' emotions while hoping that
All four of Boston's victories over Miami this season have come by fewer than 10 points. Wade recognizes that little separates his Heat from the Celtics. "You have to learn from the mistakes in a loss and move on and see the good things you did as well as learn from the bad things,'' said Wade. "We're going to keep fighting. They have homecourt advantage, and so we have nothing to lose in these [first two] games. These are free games for us.''
To put it another way: Guess which team will be feeling the most pressure in Game 2 Tuesday night?