Recap: Sometimes grit and balls isn’t enough | Red's Army - The Voice of Boston Celtics Fans
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Recap: Sometimes grit and balls isn’t enough


An epic performance by Rajon Rondo and a tremendous "grit and balls" effort by the Celtics tonight was marred by wretched officiating. 

I didn't want to bitch about the officials. The game was too good. But I can't stomach the bias. Just look at the photo. With the game tied at 105 in overtime, Rondo got raked across the face by Wade. No call. Thirty seconds later, Wade drove the lane, kicked Garnett to create separation and no call. It was the perfect scenario for a make-up call, but nothing.

The Celtics were whistled for 15 more fouls (33 – 18). Dwyane Wade and LeBron James had two fouls each. Paul Pierce fouled out with 47 seconds remaining in the 4th.

Pure garbage. A farce.

Rondo (44 points, 16-24 FG, 10 assists, 8 rebounds in 53 minutes) was fantastic. He played the entire game. He becomes the first player to record 40+ points and 10 assists in a playoff game.

Is there really any point in dissecting the Xs and Os of this game? The outcome is predetermined. 

And while I'm ranting… Mike Breen is as pro-Heat as the officials. Every play they make is made out to be some epic moment. If Wade or LeBron churned out a stat line like Rajon Rondo did tonight, Breen would have been pulled off the air for sexual misconduct.

Box score

(image courtesy Jose3030)

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  • Amen.
    This game was a disgusting display by the refs in the end.
    Whenever the Heat do something ordinary, Breen hits nirvana and raves. Whenever the Celtics do something extraordinary, it’s just commentary by him and played off like nothing happened. Cannot stand it.

  • RyanH

    I wish it didn’t come down to a play where Rondo got raked in the fucking head and can’t get a call that even middle-of-the-road stars get in this league, let alone being the best player on a team in the ECF. Wade can do no wrong. We lost the game in the 3rd, but what the fuck. Pierce gets the boot again. James had 5 less freebies than our entire team. There aint no conspiracy, but they refused to give Rondo a clear call and it changed the game.
    Rondo deserves all of your respect. People thrash him daily. You don’t know what it’s like being a gazelle on a team of sloths. No one keeps up with him, but he plays to his teammates’ strengths and takes pride in doing it. He absolutely broke his back for our team and our city playing the whole game and OT. Give the young man his due.

  • Bkoldy

    Bill you are right on. It’s brutal that the nba wants these jokers in the finals. I hate the heat!!

  • Some fun stats for you all!
    Lebron James FTAs 24 Celtics Team 29
    Lebron James Fouls: 2 Pierce 6
    Celtic Team Fouls: 33 Heat: 18
    Hard to win 8v5

  • JimmyG

    Agreed, about everything honestly. Rondo’s game is some consolation prize since it’s nice to know we might have the second coming of Oscar Robertson on our hands. I hate to bitch about refs but it’s ridiculous how they benefit from the calls. It exacerbates the situation because the Celtics have to play perfectly if we’re to win and for stretches the Celts looked great. Bad calls sway momentum though and it certainly had an effect. 4 made shots for the Heat in the fourth quarter and that awful no-call on Rondo in overtime are just the crust of the shit sandwich David Stern served us tonight. Frankly, games like this make me wonder why I even watch the NBA.

  • grit and ballllzzzzz

    I am very disappointed in PIERCE after fouling out. During a timeout he is siting on the bench by himself,and standing off to the back of the huddle sulking alone. A true leader would be in the middle of the huddle asking their team to step it up for his absence. (never mind him heading down the tunnel with time still left on the clock).

  • Nora

    We did not lose the game in the third. The game went into overtime. Without the refs Celtics win!

  • paul

    Why are you so afraid of the word “conspiracy”?

  • Nora

    Foolproof way for C’s to win? Get rid of Stern and the refs

  • paul

    Dirty NBA.

  • Ben

    It disappoints me that some people can’t objectively watch a game a dissect the officiating. Admittedly, I’m a huge Celtics fan, but the people that think that officiating was remotely close to fair are delusional. An 18 FT and 15 PF advantage? 3 players fouled out compared to zero? Just like you said,the no-call on Rondo’s face raking combined with (somehow) a defensive foul on KG after he got karate kicked by Wade is maddening. Anyways, Rondo was unbelievable. I’m trying not to use hyperbole, but that was easily one of the greatest performances I’ve ever seen. Just too bad Pierce and KG (yeah that had points) didn’t really show up

  • SamR

    Wait, wasn’t there a foul called ON KG when Wade kicked him? Am I not recalling that right?
    What an incredible game by the C’s. Rondo with just an epic performance. Hitting those 3s at the end just made it more so.

  • I really like what Jimmy said. Here’s my problem with this game:
    The Celtics need to play near perfect basketball to beat the Heat WITHOUT officiating being a problem. They go out there tonight, and really I would say play damn near as perfect as we’re going to get, and then of course the officials become an issue.
    Having had a pretty long career, I HATE bitching about officials losing a game for a team, because usually you can find plenty of things that a team did either during the game or even down the stretch to lose the game that shouldn’t have made the officials decide the game. Tonight, I honestly don’t feel like there is THAT much that we can point to. Aside from a lapse in the 3rd quarter that RyanH pointed out above (which is going to happen in the NBA, the home team WILL make a run), the Celtics really did play damn near perfect. They even executed down the stretch without their leader and closer Paul Pierce, who hit a couple of huge 4th quarter shots and was pacing them nicely before he got fouled out on what I consider to be another 50/50 call.
    1.Rondo got hammered by Wade
    2.Wade kicked KG
    3.The NBA rule book stats that a defensive player is entitled to a plane of verticality EVEN IF he leaves the ground. Take a look back at that Paul Pierce foul. If ANYTHING, it was an offensive foul on Wade for THROWING his out of control body into the Celtic defense in hopes of a bail out call that he KNEW he would get and DID get from the refs.
    It was so predictable down the stretch. You just knew everything would go Miami’s way. I’m so frustrated because I always yell at people who say the NBA is fixed and try to defend it, but David Stern makes me look like a f*****n IDIOT when they do stuff like this. Just. Awful.
    Oh yeah, and TERRIFIC game by Rondo. I’ve been one of the Rondo haters at times, I’ll admit that. But I will say this: if he played as hard as his did tonight in every game (even other playoff games), it’d be hard for people like myself to give him a hard time. Never mind the hitting shots part. The aggression was phenomenal.

  • RyanH

    I don’t give in to conspiracy theories. I think shit is slanted to the home team usually. We got away with one with quis in game 6 against atl. Tonight was a fucking travesty, though. Rondo is a top 10-15 player in the league, but Wade hit him, so Wade trumped Rondo.

  • Ben

    Jake echoes everything I’m feeling. I HATE HATE HATE complaining about refs…I think it’s one of the lowest things you can do, but wow. I can’t objectively look at the officiating in this game and think it was remotely close to fair. I’m so angry right now. Sorry

  • He almost sounded sad when Rondo finished that incredible lay up in OT.

  • Manny

    Apart from offense, did all the Rondo bashers see how great he played lebron and wade on defense? I don’t even need to say anything about all the horrible calls in this game. I hope Ray plays this good the rest of the series,except for that layup he tried to adjust and wade blocked. My hate for wade keeps going up since he hurt rondo last year and the calls he’s getting aren’t helping either.

  • RyanH

    I’ve gone back and watched wade back to back hit Rondo in the head and then KG got kicked as he used his right to verticality. Atrocious. That may be the last straw for me. KG got kicked, didn’t touch wade. Floored.

  • Nora

    I think the lowest thing to do is to NOT blame the refs not only in this game and let them go on and do whatever they want to do. Stern appreciates those that ignore it. The reffing is bad…unless you are the Heat, or in the past LA…

  • Nora

    Meaning the team with the more marketable players get the calls. No matter what happens

  • kyleW

    Sorry to say, but the Heat were the aggressors all night, that’s why there was a free throw disparity. Look at the shot chart. Celts shot jumpers, Miami dove into the lane and got fouled. They are more athletic also, so less prone to tired fouls. The Celts are older and slower, sans Rondo, so you can’t claim conspiracy here. Pierce jumped straight up and yes there was some body contact. Could it have been a no call? Of course. But that’s what you get when you attack the basket and try to finish. When’s the last time you saw Pietrus, Ray or Rondo drive to the basket to dunk on somebody? Never, that’s why they don’t get fouled like Wade and Lebron do. Come on guys.
    The Rondo face slap was a missed call, sure, I’ll give you that one. Lastly, Wade got hit on the arm by KG, which contorted his body. He didn’t kick anyone, look at at it again. His knee was up, but it’s not like he karate kicked Garnett out of the way. Don’t be silly, that would be an obvious call to make if that was the case.
    aDon’t stoop to blaming the refs guys. That’s embarrassing. The Heat are better, just accept it and move on.

  • JR99

    Uh, hardly.
    Q3 – Wade’s block of Ray’s layup is a foul — he clearly pushes Ray’s torso as he goes up for the block. Refs screw up.
    Q3 – James runs into Dooling who is STANDING STILL, but a block is called. A clear charge. Refs screw up again.
    Q4 – Pierce 6th foul: Pierce went straight up in the air, and was not in the restricted area. The charge is called a blocking foul. Refs screw up again.
    OT – Rondo is hit hard in the eye on a layup, and because there’s no call, the Heat get an easy 2 points on the other end. 4 point swing. (The difference in the game? 4 points.)
    Whole Game – Every little touch on Lebron James was whistled. It happened all game long, but got worse in the final minutes of regulation and OT.

  • classless

    Pathetic post. If you’re gonna whine about the officials costing them this game and claim games are “predetermined”, then shut down Red’s Army and stop watching the NBA. Just ignore the fact that the Celtics actually should have been blown out since Miami missed 16 free throws! Or they got worked on the boards again, especially when Lebron grabbed a HUGE offensive rebound in OT. Or the bench contributing nothing and wasting an all time performance by Rondo.
    Anyways, he’s Wally Sczerbiak gloating (for some random reason):
    @WSzczerbiak: KG is another one who lacks the #clutchgene always has!

  • Nora

    Wow just wow. This is so wrong I am speechless. I don’t think you were tuned into the same game. Must be a Heat fan

  • Nora

    pathetic is giving the refs a pass. Classless indeed…

  • Nora

    Look at the foul and FT discrempency. There is no way to write that off as fair. NO WAY!!!!!

  • Nora

    Lebron and Wade-2 fouls
    Pierce-6 fouls

  • Really?

    Miami made 4 fgs in the 4th and won.

  • jadams5214

    Refs were horrible but there were other factors that contributed mightily to the Celtics losing this game.
    Yes Rondo was fouled, assuming he makes those free throws it’s a 2 point lead. Boston had been getting 2 point leads in OT and had given them right back by playing poor defense so who knows how the game would have unfolded.
    The Celtics had a FIVE point lead with 3:39 left and couldn’t hold it. Ray missed that open 3 which would have extended it to 8 points.
    The two biggest failures on Boston’s end was their TERRIBLE rebounding on key possessions and KG shrinking with the game on the line.
    Boston got the stop at the end of regulation but couldn’t grab the rebound and have a chance to win the game. Then after a great play by Rondo to force a jump ball in OT which left Miami with only 6 seconds for a shot they once again failed miserably to box out and Lebron got a huge putback.
    KG was obviously exhausted but man he made some terrible plays in OT. With Boston up 2 he had the ball with WADE covering him. KG has a 6 inch size advantage on Wade, but instead of going inside he put up a jumper that missed off the glass. Even worse was when Boston was down 2 in OT and Ray fed KG the ball off a double team. Again KG had WADE covering him — instead of taking a couple dribbles and then going up for a close shot that Wade could never block, KG decides to pass. Pietrus was WIDE open for 3 but KG threw a terrible underhanded pass to Bass that led to a turnover.
    Failure to get key rebounds and KG not taking advantage of 2 huge possessions with Wade guarding him were crucial mistakes that besides the refs led to this debilitating loss…

  • Nora

    I suppose Heat played the perfect game though. Players made mistake on both ends and only one team got fouls called for them

  • Nora

    How many FTs did they get? Those do count in the score column as well you know…

  • wil

    yeah its so hard to watch this kind of games. The Celtics deserve that win. It was a physical game. Lebron and wade is bound to get 3-5 fouls a game. This is just ridiculous.

  • wil

    im sure he is disappointed in himself too. dont be too hard on him coz he’s already hard on himself. im sure he blames himself for this loss.

  • wil

    you are totally right. i hate how heat fans play blind to all of this. Its disgusting that they defend the win despite the obvious game changing calls.
    If your team wins with the help of the officials, atleast have the decency to shut up.

  • Agree.
    It was a joke, from the commentaries to the refs. This is pure garbage like the one it stole away my interest from italian soccer.

  • paul

    He was upset man, it happens

  • paul

    Guys, I might be done with these online commenting games beyond tonight. I don’t want to complain about officiating anymore, so this might be the end of the line for me. You guys have all been great, I’ve been off and on for years, and I have to say most of these articles are superbly done. Bravo!

  • JR99

    That is his point.

  • JR99

    Yes, me too. There is no point spending good money on League Pass, or buying any of the NBA’s nonsense. Until we fans ACTUALLY walk away, there will be no reason for anything to change.

  • You absolutely are. Terrible call.

  • Heat outlast the Celtics but did not win regardless the series was determined lastnight. Thanks Ainge for doing your best.
    I play at the rex-plex on wed nights bring it Lebum

  • The Heat are better; they’ll win the series and go to the Finals (barring the unexpected).
    Having said that, it’s hard to argue the Heat were demonstrably better last night.
    Sure, Pietrus and Allen rarely drive to the basket…but the one time Allen did it was 50/50 whether Wade fouled him.
    Because of his size, Rondo rarely attempts a dunk. On the other hand, he drives to the basket more than almost anyone in the league…and as you concede, the one example you mention he got fouled by Wade (but no call).
    Pierce also drives to the basket as much as anyone…but didn’t get to the line at all until the end of the 6th quarter of this series.
    Breen and Van Gundy pointed out in replays of the Wade/KG play that the refs could just as easily have called the foul on Wade for kicking Garnett.
    FWIW, on the Pierce/Wade play, Wade wasn’t trying to dunk. (It looked like he was trying to throw his body into someone to draw a foul.)
    I’ve got nothing against players trying to draw fouls when going to the basket. And I’m not a conspiracy theorist.
    I think it’s just a simple statement of fact that when the Celtics (or any team) play the Heat like they did last night, and the Celtics (or any team) have three guys foul out while James and Wade only have two fouls each called on them, then the Celtics (or any team) will lose.

  • Greenman

    That is about as good of a game as we’ve seen from this team in a long time. Of course it was ruined by the refs. I can’t say I’m surprised. This is how the NBA operates. THe last time I saw a player shoot 20+ FT’s in a game was last year when Dirk was handed a championship.
    It hurts when the better team loses. We are the better team.
    NBA is about is real as Keeping up with the Kardashians.
    I wish I didn’t love the celtics so much, so I could just stop watching.

  • Kricky

    This is an OLD story. Lebung and Wade ALWAYS get the calls. (Remember 2006 finals?). The lame ass refs are so in love with those two that they assume of they miss a shot inside they must be fouled. It’s frigging stomach churning to watch and turning the league into a joke.
    I just hope that SA or OKC blow them out of the water next round. That’d make Lebung 0 for 3 in the Finals.

  • mollysdaddy

    KG did foul Wade on that play, but it seemed the kick happened first. I think it’s the second or third ref who blew that call. Baseline ref saw KG all over Wade’s arm, and was looking for the contact. He didn’t see the leg. IT’s up to the other officials to see that and correct the call.

  • KY Celts fan

    That’s pretty low of Sczerbiak to criticize a former teammate like that.

  • Reggie35RIP

    I haven’t read any of the comments, and I’m a HUGE Cs fan. But seriously shut the fuck up about the officiating. I only read the first paragraph of your story after just watching the replay of the game and I don’t want to hear that shit anymore.
    Refs miss calls. They’re human. Sometimes they might go your way, sometimes they don’t. So don’t cheapen the effort we put into that game by opening the story with a photo of a missed call and how bad the officiating was. We gave it our all and came up short. It was right there for the taking, but we just couldn’t get it done. That’s it. If you want to bitch about officiating you should start a Flakers blog. Bitching about officiating is loser talk.
    Why don’t you talk about the stuff that was within our control? Like our brain-dead lapses on transition defense resulting in dunks and layups? Or Pierce’s stupid fucking foul on Wade to foul out of the game? Our absolutely abysmal execution in the forth and overtime? Dumb ass pick and roll Rondo isos. Just because you get a mismatch on a pick doesn’t mean that that’s your play. Pietrus’ ridiculously low IQ fouls throughout the course of the game which led to him fouling out not long after Pierce, leaving us with Bass on LeBron? How slow we were to get into our offense at times leading to poor rushed shots with the shot clock winding down? Not securing the rebound after LeChoke missed his layup at the end of the forth? This was probably the biggest shortcoming late in the game, but something that’s been plaguing us throughout the playoffs. The amount of second chance points we give opponents is ridiculous. We play awesome defense, get a stop then just let them have the ball back. They can keep on turing a blind eye to this, but seriously rebounding is fundamental. Everyone box out on defense and rebound that fucking ball. They need to make a concerted effort in game 3 to plug this hole if we’re going to have any chance of winning.
    I know I’m being super critical, but if we even got a couple of those things right we could have taken the game.
    On the positive we fixed the defensive match-ups. Although I’m still trying to figure out why that wasn’t already taken care of long before or during game 1. KG on Miller? You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to know that that isn’t going to work. Surely that’s what Doc’s team of advisors are paid to do – think and adapt on their feet.
    The strategy of doubling on Wade and LeBron off picks worked really well. They just need to do a better job of getting to Miami’s 3-point shooters on the wings if it’s kicked out. If they continue with this and keep up the overall intensity and drive, we’ve got a good chance in game 3.

  • Reggie35RIP

    I couldn’t agree with you more. As the captain you can’t just check out because you fouled out. I saw him at the back of the huddle as well and thought, man a real leader would be in there getting everyone pumped up, not moping around feeling sorry for themselves. And when he walked off before the end of the game, that was massively disappointing. The captain goes down with the ship no matter what.

  • Reggie35RIP

    I agree with everything you said, except for the last sentence. 😉
    There’s usually a reason for a foul disparity that big, and it’s not always the refs. Don’t be so one-eyed, the Heat were far more aggressive in the paint. Points in the paint Celtics: 34, Heat: 42. And I don’t know if they count converted FTs from fouls in the paint, so there were probably a bunch more they got from FTs.
    And the whole Wade kicking KG offensive foul is just bullshit. You’re grasping at straws if you think that’s ever going to get called. You’re trying to get a ref to call a millisecond difference between an offensive kick or a defensive foul in realtime? Come on. Even in slowmo it was a debatable call. KGs foul was far heavier and more noticeable than Wade sticking his knee out. What do you think is going to get called 9 times out of 10? Also did you see any of the Cs players react to the call? No. What does that mean?

  • Reggie35RIP

    You sure made your point there. Just because star players have a low foul count doesn’t mean there’s some bullshit conspiracy going on. It means they didn’t foul all that much.

  • Reggie35RIP

    Couldn’t agree more. I only have vague memories of the game, but you’ve broken down the most important plays well. I just remember screaming “get the fucking rebound” a lot.

  • Great analysis. Except for the glaring f#cking omission that at the rate of burn on minutes last night, the C’s will be gassed by the third quarter in game three. So don’t bitch about the refing, pick apart the c’s play and go buy more nba gear. David Stern loves guys like you. Bottom line series was sealed last night, it was all or nothing and I don’t fault Doc for approaching it that way.

  • I thought last year when Rondo came out of the locker room with a dislocated elbow and went back out to play, I didnt think that this kid could top that, and last night he did, Boston should never speak Rondo and trade in the same sentence ever at the same time again. He poured his heart and soul into this game, a coach,fan,franchise,son,father,brother,mother, not anybody could have asked this kid to do anymore than what he did. This type of play should be enough for every man on this roster to step up their play and win both games in Boston. Mickael Pietrus has been in this league to long to be making such silly fouls, I know Greg is a rookie but damb, he has been playing all year and is still getting 4 fouls in 3 minutes. GUYS WAKE UP,YOU MADE IT TO THE ECF WHEN NOBODY THOUGHT THAT YOU WOULD MAKE IT TO THE PLAYOFFS. Paging that killer Kevin Garnett, the one that talks to himself, we need him stat, GUYS ITS WIN OR GO HOME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!PLAY LIKE IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!I have been saying it for 3 years now, Rondo is a 3 point shooter, now its starting to develop!!! Good job Rondo, you have nothing to feel bad about, you went to war on the Miami Heat, but you cant do it by yourself.

  • Reggie35RIP

    You make a lot of assumptions, about me and the Cs.
    There are a few days off before game 3 for us to recoup. Sure it’s gonna be taxing on those old legs, but I’m sure they’ll be able to rustle up some energy from somewhere for game 3 of the Eastern Conference Finals at home (that’s just a hunch). What you think they’re gonna lie down?
    I don’t own any NBA gear.
    And last night was far from being “all or nothing”. it’s a 7 game series, Miami have done their job, now it’s time to do ours. If we lose game 3 then I might be singing a different tune, but lets see what happens. Maybe you should change your name to Celtichater?

  • Yeah great zinger. but your delusional. And I was joking, your analysis is weak. No I don’t think they’re gonna lay down, but your out of mind to think Hey they’ll find the energy somewhere! Stern is catching so much sh#t in the national media, I’m in Seattle and its all over sports radio here so I don’t think the refs will be an issue next game. But the minutes will be.
    Maybe you should change your name to Stu Jackson’s Sock Puppet?

  • Stu Jackson’s Sock Puppet

    Game 3. Celtics WIN. End of discussion.