Is this the last hurrah for the Old Three? Well, it sure was the last ha-ha, LeBron James laughing at Kevin Garnett late in the game while palming the ball, shortly after the Heat palmed the Celtics’ throats.
It was a long and extended chuckle and KG, who didn’t take too kindly to it, responded with a long and extended glare. But that’s all he could do because, really, what could he say?
“That’s all good,” huffed Garnett. “Man, they’re comfortable. And when you’re comfortable you do things like that.” We are one game into the Eastern Finals, one step closer for the Heat to return to the championship, one step closer toward a possible dismantling for the Celtics. AMiamisweep, or even a five-game thrashing, will surely signal for the demolition crew inBoston.
They are a proud threesome, no doubt, but also a crumbling collection of Hall of Famers whose time together is almost up. At least that’s how it appeared Monday, anyway, when KG, Paul Pierce and Ray Allen were exposed by the Heat as being too old and too hurt to delay the inevitable changing of the guard in the East. It wasMiami93, Celtics 79, a game that won’t necessarily decide the series, but could define it.
Garnett took full advantage of the absence of Chris Bosh, as you knew he would, going for 23 points and 10 rebounds and was clearly the best Celtic on the floor. But again, he had an advantage. The other two? Not so. Not even close.
Allen missed six of his seven shots, which made you wonder if he’s shot. His performance was more of the same in this post-season for Allen, a jump shooter with a few loose springs. The greatest deep threat in history is shooting 27 percent beyond the stripe. Other than the pair of threes he made late in Game Seven against Philly, he’s hurting in more ways than one. Dragging around a pair of weak ankles is no way to shoot your way past aMiamiteam that rotates well and closes quickly. And the Heat know it.
Pierce missed 13 of 18 shots and never established a rhythm. But you can understand. He needs plenty of energy to check LeBron, who dropped 32 points and had Pierce on his heels all night.
All told, the Celtics were outrebounded by 15 and outsprinted by LeBron and Wade. If this is how it’ll be for the Celtics, especially if Rajon Rondo is a vapor as he was through much of Game 1, and nothing much coming from the bench, do you doubt where this is headed?
“This was not our best basketball,” said Garnett, but is their best basketball behind them?