Dwyane Wade (38 points, 14-21 FG) played a superb basketball game, but James Jones was the difference in the Heat's 99-90 victory in Game 1.
The sharp-shooting bench player nailed 5 threes and scored 23 of his 25 points in the 1st half. He was the reason Miami took a 15 lead into halftime. Jones can't do much besides shoot, yet Celtics defenders repeatedly left him open on the perimeter.
Miami's defensive intensity was the second biggest factor in this game. The Celtics shot under 40% in the first half and scored just 36 points.
Rajon Rondo (8 points, 7 assists, 7 rebounds, 5 turnovers) was aggressive early, but not in the right ways. Too much posting-up on Mike Bibby.
Paul Pierce (19 points, 6-14 FG, 7 rebounds, 4 turnovers) was awful in the 1st half. He was out-of-sync. He dribbled the ball off his legs on two possessions which led to Miami fast-break points.
KG needs more than 9 shots.
While the referees did not affect the outcome, they made several awful calls that all went against the Celtics.
1. Jermaine O'Neal's flagrant foul on Jones. Puh-lease. It was a bump. Nothing more.
2. The non-flagrant call on Jones for raking Pierce on the head. Yes, Jones should wrap up Pierce to ensure he doesn't get off the shot, but that doesn't mean he has to knock him in the head.
3. The quick-trigger technical on Pierce that got him ejected. Wade ran thru Pierce on a pick (a possible flagrant foul itself) and then Ed Malloy delivered one of the quickest Ts you'll ever see.
No – that was not a head butt by Pierce.
I'm frustrated as hell that the Celtics delivered such a lackluster performance after a week's rest. But I'm more than confident they will take Game 2. There is too much to improve upon.