Celtics 87 - HEAT 97 Game 5 Recap
MIAMI For as much as this season has been spent on shallow, unnecessary storytelling and searching for narratives that didnt exist, the Miami HEATs Game 5 victory against the Boston Celtics is one which immediately and permanently becomes ingrained in the leagues mythos. The win belongs to and will be remembered for the story, a story birthed by a 16-0 run to end the game and Bostons season.
It was a run that reversed so many things people, on a national level, thought to be true, even if it were only because they were things said the loudest, and the most.
Miamis role players had been oft-maligned for inconsistent shooting this season despite steady defense, but it was James Jones who may have hit the most important shot of the season to date. With Miami down five with four minutes to play after a Nenad Krstic jumper, the situation appeared dire. But after the HEAT earned a stop, LeBron James sped down the floor and found Jones on the opposite wing for three.
Now, Jones is not a stop-and-pop shooter. He finds his spots, catches and releases, but he does not bounce into his shot on the secondary break like Ray Allen or Paul Pierce. But he did just that, hitting the shot the HEAT absolutely needed to fall.
When he shot it, it was just like, We need this one to go in, Dwyane Wade said.
With the three, Miami was down two. Boston had hit timely shots all night to stave off home-court momentum, and out of a timeout, they earned an open three for Ray Allen. But after shooting over 50 percent through three quarters, averages were sure to catch up with the Celtics eventually. Allen missed, clearing the way for, if not the most important, the most poignant shot of the game.
Chris Bosh has fought an uphill battle with perception all season despite being an integral part of Miamis gameplans on either end of the court, and in no one area has he suffered the wrath of the microscope more than in his duels with Kevin Garnett. Even after two winning performances against Garnett in Games 1 and 2, after Bosh plays the same defense in Game 3 only to have Garnett hit a number of tough shots on his way to a big game, this was enough to knock Bosh back down the ladder. The benefit of the doubt did not exist.
And after Garnett scored 12 in the first quarter on a combination of Bosh and Joel Anthony, the narrative weight was only getting heavier. But after Jones three, Bosh flipped the script, up-faking Garnett in the post and going right around him before finishing with a two-handed dunk. Now the score was tied, and Bosh had had the most significant moment of his career at the expense of his greatest foe.
It was just good to make the right play, Bosh said. Being aggressive. I didnt have time to think, I just had to react. I made a play to the basket.
Enter LeBron James.
The idea that James isnt what people like to call clutch, that he cant and doesnt finish games, has been a popular thought for years. Its also been fairly silly. But it takes big moments on national television to fully shift the discourse, particularly a negative one. In scoring the games final 10 points, James collected those sulfuric statements and had them launched into the darkness of space.
What proves how fickle the general consensus can be on a player even more was that James two biggest shots, consecutive makes after Boshs dunks, were threes, the very shots many lament. With them, Miami went up six with 40 seconds to play and James had his moments.
Oftentimes in this league, it becomes about make or miss, Erik Spoelstra said. About your great players making great plays at the end of the game. And then you say its great execution.
That wasnt enough. James drove the point home on the following possession, going around Paul Pierce at the top of the key for a steal and a breakaway dunk, then a driving layup in the games final seconds. James finally had his indisputable moments, and the HEAT had conquered the Celtics.