And so here we are. The team nobody said could win this series — and yes, that absolutely, positively included me — the team that is too old, too fragile, too hurt, whose margin of error is too small, whose bench is too anemic, whose lack of athleticism is too much of a handicap, is now up 3-2 in the conference finals, with a chance Thursday night to close it out on the parquet floor.
Shame on me for doubting champions who have been there before, who draw from deep reservoirs of pride and experience, who trust each other implicitly, who, as Allen explained, “know what we want to do, where we want the ball, have an idea of the plays we should call. We’ve been together so long, you see us in the huddle at a timeout exchanging ideas.
The Heat did not lose the game with passivity or fear or failure to take the last shot. They just got outhustled and outplayed, a trend that has been going on for a week now. It was impossible to excuse it, Miami led by 13 points in the first half, nine in the third quarter and had control in the fourth. But Boston just took it, never quitting and never missing a chance to take an edge. An attitude the Heat have been missing despite all their talk to the contrary.
Kevin Garnett, postgame
The competition, the naysayers, the owners who talk too much. The people who don’t think a 36-year-old can do what I do. I take a lot of pride in my craft, I work really hard at my craft everyday, and I’m a true professional.
Israel Guiterrez, ESPN
What you saw was Spoelstra being outmatched by Celtics coach Doc Rivers, who relied heavily on his starters despite their age and threw off the Heat offense by constantly changing defenses, not just from man to zone, but different principles within those defenses.
Ian Thompson, SI
Garnett (23 points and 11 rebounds) was magnificent and spry, and above all the Celtics believed in themselves and their plan. “Our execution down the stretch, defensively and offensively, the different lineups we threw out on the floor, going back to man and zone with guys that hadn’t been in those positions,” said Rivers, smiling at what had been accomplished on the way to the larger goal. “I asked a lot of our guys, maybe too much at times. And they came through.”