Celtics suffer heartbreaking loss to Heat, down 0-2

In what was an extremely entertaining game, the Celtics eventually fell 115-111 in overtime to the Heat Wednesday night in Miami. The Celtics held a 15-point lead in the first half, before the Heat outscored the Celtics 35-22 in the third quarter to take a 6-point lead entering the fourth. The Celtics came storming back and held a 5-point lead midway through the quarter, but the Heat once again came back, and the Celtics needed a Ray Allen three-pointer with 34 seconds left to force overtime. In the overtime session Rajon Rondo scored all 12 of the Celtics’ points, but in the end it was not enough.

Rondo was the story of the game, scoring a career-high 44 points in the loss. He also finished with 10 assists and eight rebounds. He did all this playing the entire 53 minutes of the game. Rondo was 16-24 from the field and 10-12 from the line. Kevin Garnett gave everything he had as well, playing 45 minutes and finishing with 18 points and eight rebounds. Paul Pierce fouled out late in the fourth, after playing 43 minutes and finishing with 21 points.

One note that was not mentioned at all during the broadcast and postgame was Pierce left the bench with 2.2 seconds remaining in the overtime to go to the locker room. He was not hurt, he was just frustrated. Not exactly something you want to see from the teams’ captain.

There was once again much discussion following the game on the officiating. In the end the Celtics were called for 33 fouls, to the Heat’s 18. There was once blatant foul on Dwyane Wade in the overtime session, when he smacked Rondo across the face when Rondo was going up for a layup, but there was no call. For the game the Celtics shot a total of 29 free throws, while LeBron James shot 24 by himself. While the officiating was questionable, no one can blame the referees for the Celtics blowing a 15-point lead, so there should be no pinning the loss on the referees.

Effort was there, result was lacking- Gary Washburn says the Celtics played with the most passion out of any playoff game this year.

Celtics’ best not good enough- Jackie MacMullen has despite some valiant efforts by the Celtics, it just wasn’t enough to get past the Heat.

Couldn’t ask for more from Celtics’ Rajon Rondo- Dan Shaughnessy compares Rondo’s performance to some games played by some of the Celtics legends.

Rajon Rondo gives his best- Steve Bullpet also looks at the Game 2 performance by the Celtics point guard.

Rajon Rondo deserved better- Chris Forsberg says Rondo and the Celtics deserved a win with Rondo’s Game 2 performance.

The Rondo game that got away- Paul Flannery has the reactions of different players and coaches on Rondo’s performance, including LeBron James.

Marathon Green men- Steve Buckley says another storyline of Game 2 was Ray Allen, as after following a tough outing in Game 1, Allen responded with some clutch three’s.

Foul odor detected- Mark Murphy in his notebook has Danny Ainge stopping Joe Borgia, the NBA’s officiating supervisor following the game.

Get the rest of the Celtics coverage at CelticsLinks.com.

The Red Sox defeated the Tigers 6-4 and are now two games over .500, just 2 1/2 games out of first place in the AL East. The Red Sox hit three home runs, including two-run shots by David Ortiz and Will Middlebrooks, and then a solo home run from Kevin Youkilis. Starter Jon Lester went 6 2/3 innings allowing four runs and striking out seven.

Second baseman Dustin Pedroia is dealing with a slight tear in his thumb’s adductor muscle. He will not swing a bat the next few days to allow for the swelling and bruising to go down before making a decision on Monday as to whether to go on the disabled list or not. There has been talk of bringing up shortstop Jose Iglesias from Pawtucket and moving Mike Aviles to second, if Pedroia were to go on the DL.

Red Sox must do what’s right for Pedroia- Chad Finn says the Red Sox should be extra cautious with their second baseman, not letting him return until his thumb his fully healed or he doesn’t risk doing any further damage.

Pedroia’s thumb injury poses a real dilemma- Nick Cafardo also looks at the situation the Red Sox are facing with Pedroia looking at both sides of the situation.

Red Sox showing heart- Scott Lauber has how despite a number of injuries to key players, the Red Sox are coming together and pulling out some good wins.

Bobby V suffles desk and wins again- Gordon Edes has Bobby Valentine getting creative with all of the injuries.

  • andy

    Sorry Ryan but when the free throws are 47-29  and LeBron shoots 24 to the Celtics 29, the refs are an issue. 

    • HighWireNickEsasky

      That FT differential would be one thing if the Celtics (Rondo, Pierce, Bass, etc) weren’t going the hoop, but they were, especially in the 1st half.  Meanwhile, the Celtics were getting called for ticky-tack off ball fouls the whole night.  That play where Rondo and Lebron where diving for a loose ball should have been either a foul on Lebron for hauling down Rondo or a non-call.  Even Mike Breen sort of admitted that after the replay, before which he said it was “clearly not a foul on James.”

  • Tim R

    Ryan you’re out of your mind if you don’t think the way that game was called lead directly to the outcome.
    The NBA is a fixed product under David Stern.  They fix their drafts and they fix their games.
    Why anyone lays down cash money to buy a ticket to this nonsese is beyond me. 

  • Tyler Carter

    I don’t have time to lay out every instance in which the Celtics have been screwed in this series – we could go back to those 5 bogus technicals in G1, but the Celtics overall poor shooting and poor defense really was what did them in – so lets just focus on those critical back-to-back possessions in OT of G2.  Rondo was raked across the face by Wade while driving to the basket in full view of at least one official (http://boston.3432.voxcdn.com/files/2012/05/589814634-480×269.png) and didn’t get the call.  There is ZERO excuse for not calling that; it’s not even 50-50 (on a related note, Wade was only whistled once last night).  On the ensuing possession in transition, Wade drove into four defenders, delivered a Karate Kid crane kick to Garnett to draw contact and got to the line.  No one in their right mind drives at a brick wall unless they’re certain they’re going to get bailed out, which is precisely what happened.Ryan, I appreciate the work you do for BSMW.  But your denial regarding the NBA’s WWE-level officiating isn’t going to convince me or likely anyone else around these parts after last night’s damning evidence.

    • bsmfan

       Look, I think Bruce/Ryan do some great work here and if all they did was “blame the refs”, it would kinda relegate the site and get away from its intent.

      Isn’t the site for the media angle? I know we talk about the game/action itself because it kinda dictates the media’s coverage.

      I try to approach posts with “do my best effort to convince someone and make my case” not a “you’re wrong if you don’t believe me”

      • Tyler Carter

        Journey on over to ESPNBoston and scroll down to the “C’s won’t blame refs, distractions” post.  It leads off by absolving the NBA and the crooked officials of any responsibility for the game’s outcome.  Perhaps anticipating fan backlash (absolutely justified BTW), the post was submitted under the cowardly ESPNBoston byline.

        This site is about media criticism, and since not one media member has the cajones to hold the NBA accountable for their fraudulent practices, it falls to us fans.

        • bsmfan

          I meant the post as more of a thinking out loud as to when and where something like this might be investigated.

          Yesterday, compounding all of this, Woj, who I thought is one of the most widely-read and respected NBA columnists, and clearly has a bit more latitude to write what he wants to because Yahoo isn’t a TV partner, writes the great article on the lottery not appearing legit.

          Listening to the Dan Patrick show this morning, he had a caller ask some great questions:

          “Dan, I bet in 2005, you were a guy who not only thought but said that there is no way a NBA game could be fixed.”

          He also brought up and asked questions about how much of a sham that investigation was that the NBA did and how they should have appointed an independent counsel to do it that had 0 ties to the NBA or was funded by purely the NBA.

          And, in the more conspiracy land, I’ve read (I don’t have the link but wish I did) about someone who said that if you wanted to fix a ping-pong setup, it’s possible, and even more likely when you’re not televising the setup.

          So, I agree on the “maybe reporters should investigate more and ask better questions” gripe. I’m with you. When videos disappear because someone like SAS, on sportscenter and later on a video they post to the web, disappear, for no good reason, it doesn’t look better. And, I think too many journalists are scared of losing access, so they do not approach the topic.

        • tl;138

           I heard a quote from Doc last night where a reporter said the fouls were split 50-50 and his response was to chuckle sarcastically and say “Want to think of a different percentage?”

          That sounds like he’s blaming the refs.

        • Tyler Carter

          A single brave beat reporter!

  • bsmfan

    I know people are going to pile on the refs today, and this is usually when fans turn on each other and things can get messy.

    Here is one thought: I’d love to see a former ref (Tim Donaghy does call into WEEI and maintains a for-profit site, but has the obvious caveat) comment on some of this like Mike Pereira does. The money going into the NBA might not be NHL money but it’s not exactly to where an outfit couldn’t add someone.

    Maybe I’m not as moved because while Wrestling was big growing up, I never got into it.

    • Tyler Carter

      Throughout the playoffs a couple seasons ago Donaghy did submit postgame officiating analysis to Deadspin.

      • bsmfan

        Yeah, I remembered that. I loved reading it. http://www.thefixisin.net also tracks all of this and I think uses him.

        I guess another big thing to think about:

        What if the Coyotes were in the SCF right now? Think about that for a second. I think they just got lucky on the draw until the Kings but they’ve become a juggernaut.

        I don’t think the NHL has the luxury of dealing with “Wait, the team OWNED BY THE NHL IS IN THE FINALS?”

        I didn’t look at the total penalties called but don’t think they were uneven.

        • Tyler Carter

          Weird season for the NHL.  No matter who wins the SCF it will be the lowest seed ever to do so.  I’m not a huge hockey fan (yet) but was satisfied with the Bs brief title defense.

  • classless

    Fitting this debacle happens on the same night the NBA owned Hornets get the #1 pick.

  • bsmfan

    On a positive note, if you didn’t hear, the Dolphins  will be doing Hard Knocks:

    http://www.sun-sentinel.com/sports/miami-dolphins/fl-hard-knocks-miami-dolphins-0531-20120530,0,3491399.story?track=rss

    Article on the upcoming production. 

  • APimpNamedDaveR

    One of these two things is absolutely true:

    (1) The NBA uses its refs to fix/throw/manipulate games in order to create drama/better matchups for ratings purposes/payback for those who cross David Stern/whatever, or

    (2) NBA officiating is so terrible, and the refs so inept, that the poor officiating makes it strongly appear that games are being actively fixed.

    Either way, I personally view the NBA as a pointless waste of time.  The best team doesn’t always win.  You can often tell within the first five minutes of the game who’s going to win, except in those non-rare cases where the refs decide to call things 100,000% different starting halfway through the third quarter.  The only way a team can overcome an officiating crew that doesn’t want it to win is by some sort of herculean shooting effort, e.g. hitting 68% from the field for the game, or 80% from the 3-pt line. Why should I watch a game where the rules are so fluid?  How about for game 3, left-handed layups count for 5 points, and Lebron James has to yell “bananawhacker” every time he touches the ball or else the Celtics are awarded 3 technical free throws?  And then for game 4, Kevin Garnett has to play barefoot, Pierce is prohibited from dribbling, and the player who finds the golden snitch gets 50 points for Gryffindor.

    Pointless.  Waste.  Of time.

    • bsmfan

      Great points.

      Sean McAdam, on with G+Z, brings up a great point and question:

      “If the NBA can survive the Tim Donaghy, then what will it take before people stop watching?”

      • APimpNamedDaveR

        And that’s kind of the point, isn’t it?  It’s trivially, trivially easy (and virtually cost free) for the NBA to make the draft lottery completely transparent, eliminating permanently any accusations of “fixing the draft”.  So why don’t they?  Why do we still have to take it on faith that a randomized drawing was held, and the results were as they are presented on stage?  Why aren’t more people asking these questions?

        • bsmfan

          Trivially easy and something they could benefit from, that is the salient (and bewildering) point where it would solve all of this.

          “Why aren’t more people asking these questions?”
          Same reason why I think both of us are doing so now. Ask enough good questions in a civilized manner, and hope that it becomes contagious with the right people.

      • http://profile.yahoo.com/MWWDA5IBW7VOU7AJC2CQSUYBWQ Bruins309

         They did that exact system with the 11 non-playoff teams until 1993, when a 41-41 Orlando team won the lottery for the 2nd year in a row. But I do like your idea for the sake of transparency. It also would combat tanking, at least somewhat.

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/NBA_Draft_Lottery#1990.E2.80.93present:_Weighted_lottery_system

  • Darnell

    You folks do realize that it was actually in the interests of the NBA, ESPN, and a whole lot of sponsors that the Celtics win last because a short series which this is now going to be costs all of them $?

    And of course, the small market, zero sizzle, zero interest San Antonio Spurs whose previous Finals trips have brought historically bad ratings are marching to their 5th title.  That is certainly just more proof of the fix being in

    • bsmfan

      From SMW, “Game 2 of the Celtics/Heat NBA Eastern Conference Finals drew a 6.6
      overnight on ESPN Wednesday night, up 29% from Thunder/Mavericks Game 2
      on a Thursday night last year (5.1), and up 16% from Celtics/Magic Game 2
      on a Tuesday night in 2010 (5.7).”

      No surprise there.

      • Darnell

        Which is clearly why the NBA rigged game 2 so the Heat would win ensuring they only get the now likely 4 or 5 games of these improved ratings as opposed to the likely 6 or 7 they would have gotten if they rigged it so the Celtics won.

  • NEPatsfan

    Bad missed call on the Rondo layup for sure. But no question about the KG foul on Wade or Pierce’s 6th (the only argument on that could be that KG fouled him first). As far as the FT discrepancy goes, look, you can’t have it both ways. For two days all I heard was that the C’s had to make them pay for driving in the lane, make them “hit the deck”, use their fouls, etc. Well guess what happens when that is your strategy? The other team takes lots of FTs.

    As far as the NBA being rigged/fixed/manipulated or whatever, I’d advise people to look at the facts before spouting off nonsense because they are frustrated. Every year the NHL playoffs have more games (read: revenue) than the NBA playoffs. Every year the NHL has more 7 game series than the NBA. The facts just don’t support this argument that the NBA is trying to maximize games and revenue. The small market Spurs have won 4 titles and are about to win another. They are playing the small market OKC.

    Please stop with the conspiracy nonsense. Was the ’08 title rigged? Maybe the league just wanted to get KG, Ray and PP their rings? Or was the Celtics title the only legit one? Do you see how dumb this sounds?

    • APimpNamedDaveR

      Only basketball fans can see a referee go to Federal prison for admitting under oath that he fed inside information on how he and his crew were instructed to call games to bookies…. and still mock people for their “conspiracy nonsense” about how games are called.

      If it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, it’s a duck.  If, on the other hand, it’s convicted in court of being a duck…. then you’re the one who needs to stop with the “it’s not a duck” nonsense.

      • NEPatsfan

        Yes, there was a crooked ref. And yes, there may be more. There may be some in other sports too. The facts just don’t support there being any agenda to lengthen series or take series to 7 games. The facts also don’t support that the NBA picks who they want to win titles. If this were the case, wouldn’t the Knicks have won a few in the last 30 years?

        Again, this is bitter fan frustration. I get it. Even though I hate it, I’m sure I’ve done it. If you don’t like the league and think it’s rigged, fine, don’t watch it. I just question why people would celebrate in ’08 if the whole thing is rigged?

        • APimpNamedDaveR

          I’m not a fan, nor am I bitter.  I’m just a casual observer of the sport.  And it amuses me to no end that so many people are just willing to accept David Stern at face value when he says “nothing to see here, no problem, nothing to see, move along” despite literally decades of officiating problems and dubious on-court decisions.  Even I, with zero interest in watching the NBA, can rattle off the names of the suspect refs:  Bennett Salvatore, the Crawfords, etc.  Yet despite a Federal conviction, and a former ref laying out exactly how officials can control/swing/alter a game on-court, and stating that the league office did send down “suggestions” to “emphasize” calls that had the effect of negating certain playing styles….. there’s no problem, David Stern’s right, and anyone who thinks there is, at the very least, an ENORMOUS credibility problem for the NBA is either a “bitter fan” or foolish.  

          Yeah, right.

        • NEPatsfan

          That’s fine, you’re not a fan and you don’t watch the games because of this perceived officiating problem. Although I disagree, at least I can respect that. The problem I have is with fans who want to celbrate ’08 but then cry that it’s rigged when their team loses.

          I have a problem with fans/media/players saying for 48 hours that they need to be physical, allow no layups and make the opposition earn their points from the stripe and then turn around after the game and complain about the number of FTs the other team took. Well what the heck did you think was going to happen with that strategy?

        • bsmfan

           Quite a few players also expressed some concern over the draft:

          http://www.iamagm.com/news/2012/05/31/over.10.nba.players.tweeted.about.draft.lottery.conspiracy

  • Collis Jones

    The financial system of the United States is corrupt and rigged.  However it’s conspiratorial that an entertainment league mostly operated by shoe companies is above using officials (already shown to be on the take by organized crime) to favor star players who sell the most shoes.

    Let’s face it, David Stern is a bagman/PR agent.  

  • Guesy

    I don’t buy into the whole “it’s fixed” conspiracy when it comes to NBA officiating. However I fully believe that NBA refs are a bunch of unprofessional a-holes that hold childish grudges and use bad calls/no calls to seek their vengeance. Absolutely the worst officials in pro sports, and it has nothing to do with the NBA being the “most difficult league to officiate”. When’s the last time an NFL official challenged a player to a fight in the middle of a game, a la Joey Crawford to Tim Duncan? Or when’s the last time an NFL ref was immediately reinstated after doing jail time for a felony conviction, three counts of tax evasion, and obstruction of justice, a la Ken Mauer?

    The officiating in the NBA is a joke and its even more infuriating that the commissioner scoffs at the slightest hint of referee criticism and refuses to engage in any dialogue in regards to making improvements.

    Also, can we please stop with the “well it can’t be the refs because  if Team XYZ made more shots/rebounds/stops/etc, they would have won” arguments? No s$%t! You can say that any time a team loses. Stop speaking in hypotheticals and deal with what actually happened.

  • bsmfan

    Another reason this won’t change any time soon:

    From: http://shermanreport.com/miami-boston-rules-over-cup-opener-in-ny-la-markets-buffalo-also-does-better-rating/

    Quotes:

    Wednesday, a Stanley Cup Final opener couldn’t pull better ratings in
    the local cities of the two participating teams than an NBA semifinal
    playoff game with out of market teams.

    Basketball, not hockey, was the top-rated sporting event for the
    evening in both New York and Los Angeles. The Miami-Boston game drew a
    7.4 rating in New York and a 6.1 in Los Angeles.

    Meanwhile, Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final featuring local teams
    in New Jersey-Los Angeles did a 5.1 rating in New York and a 4.2 in Los
    Angeles.
     
    All told, Game 1 did a 2.4 rating, down 25 percent from last year’s game 1 between Boston-Vancouver.

    ——–

    Almost as sad because the SCF is on network NBC and this was on ESPN.

    And, Donnie Marshall called into F+M (GearBear was in with them) and said that “many players think they’ll give them maybe one, max 2, games”

    • tl;138

      But wait…I thought hockey was back…

      • bsmfan

         I think ratings were up as an aggregate through each round, but I could be wrong. I remember seeing this as a tweet, so I don’t have an article/link. PuckTheMedia or another Sports Media blogger/journalist might cover this once the SCF is done.

  • toncy66

    I’ve firmly believed that ever since Avery Bradley suffered what was obviously going to be a season-ending injury, the Celtics were living on borrowed time in these playoffs. They weren’t going to beat Miami without Bradley over a full 7-game series, no matter what the outcome was in Game 2. That said, nothing aggravates me more than being lectured by mediots about how the officials weren’t the only reason why the C’s lost Game 2. Yes, sure, that is 100% true. The officials weren’t the ONLY reason why the C’s lost the game. They were, however, the MAIN reason why they lost it. Simmons’ tweets about how aggressively both teams were playing in Game 2, and yet how there was still such a wide disparity in foul shots pretty much kills any and all counter-arguments about the officiating not being one-sided. Please stop lecturing us, oh wise and mature media people, OK?

    As for the overall officiating situation in the NBA. I won’t go so far as to use the word “rigged” to describe certain outcomes. The “star system” has always existed and the Celtics almost always benefited from it during their glory years from 1957-87; the last 25 years, not so much. The “home cooking” angle has always existed as well. However, over the last 10 years the situation has deteriorated to the point where, even if orders from on high are not being given to the officials to “orchestrate” certain outcomes, some games have been officiated in such blatantly one-sided fashion that  the appearance of impropriety now clearly exists.

    I mean, there’s no way…NO WAY…the Lakers should have won the title in 2002. Sacramento simply was a better team, and they would have won that series in 5 games had the officials called it down the middle. Instead, the officials helped the Lakers get it to a Game 7, where LA’s experience carried the day. Of course, having LA with Shaq and Kobe in the Finals again was a much better scenario for the league than having small-market Sacramento taking on New Jersey, right? In 2006, Dallas was clearly a better team than Miami, and they killed the Heat in the first two games of that Finals series. And then the Mavs were whistled for something like 10,000 fouls in the middle three games in Miami, lost the games, lost their composure, and never recovered–did Stern’s long-running feud with Mark Cuban have anything to do with that result? Did Stern and the officials “back off” last season and allow Cuban to finally have his title because orchestrating a second massive screw-job against Dallas in just five years, against the same Finals opponent no less, would have looked way too fishy?

    These questions sound crazy and conspiratorial, sure, but the actions of the league and its officials over the last decade-plus have created the appearance of impropriety, and wacky conspiracy theories like the ones I’ve presented here are a natural outgrowth of that environment. The fact that Stern continues to do nothing about the massive image problem his officials are creating for the league still boggles my mind.

    • bsmfan

      (wrote part of this before so I wanted to finally post, since I think this is going to come up again during this series)

      Tony,

        Like the points here. I think this reflects the viewers of your casual/moderate fan who isn’t prone to jumping the gun on “conspiracy” but pays enough attention as to where they might wonder if something is up.

        This was a topic on F+M and I think has been examined by others who would label this, “David Stern’s NBA”. Starting around 1984 (one date suggested) with Bird/Magic, and continues up through today.

        Stars, and not teams, are going to get the benefit of the doubt when it comes to calls. Which, at first glance, I think most sports fans would say, “that usually happens”. Second, the NBA, I think second only to the NFL, there is an act that happens on virtually every play that could be called. Couple these together and you get.. the modern NBA.

        Here is where other sports don’t fall under this: NFL the team gets hit and the refs (not the fine) aren’t usually giving a disproportionate  amount of calls to stars. NHL? hasn’t been a major problem. Big team sport as well. Baseball? We have bad umps who get better known for their strike-zone or balks than giving players bad calls. On the NBA, where the nature of the sport and how the sport is played can be influenced the most by one single player.

        Now, you kinda hinted at this dilemma: What do you do? You’re selling the players, that happen to be part of a team. So, if you don’t have a “star studded line-up”, but the team is really good? Hello San Antonio Spurs. Unsexy, small market and bad ratings.

        As the owners “complained” about the stars controlling the league and basically 0 parity if you don’t have at least one superstar (and lets say there are 10 active at a given time), what can you do?

        The league is doing fairly well. We’ll have to accept that one at face value because of the ratings. They have 0 reason to change unless you get enough small-market owners who, no matter where they pick in the draft, wind up having 0 chance at playoffs each year or who look like the Bobcats. (Remember when the Celtics were at Charlotte? Did you see how empty the place was? There had to be less than 1k at tip and 2-3k max in there.) Now, the players also have some culpability here because they agreed to this CBA and place.

      To your last point, “appearance of impropriety”. Am I just naive in wanting our sports to be ‘level’? I’m going to reach on this comparison here, but I thought this is in the entire nature (parity) of sports leagues. I’m a big Premier League fan, so I know what non-parity looks like (and they don’t have many measures, probably never will, to install it). The worst case is being told and “sold” that its level. This is the one thing that I love about the NHL and their system.

      In the current state, there are easily 14 teams each year that you pencil right out of the postseason, without a doubt. The other 16? You have maybe 6~? that have a legit shot at it all. The rest? See Atlanta. Perpetual first-round exit or team that clearly doesn’t belong in the playoffs (another reason I like the NFL).