Lack of Height, Depth Hurting HEAT
Game 3′s signature moment came with 5:30 remaining in the fourth quarter, after Miami had made a bit of a run, cutting a 24-point Celtics lead to just nine. Then, Celtics forward Kevin Garnett, who finished with 24 points and 11 rebounds, received the ball with (LeBron) James momentarily out of position on his back. Garnett pivoted and dunked it with two hands as James watched helplessly, no other Heat players around to help. The ball went through the net and James punched it towards the court with serious force, sending it skyward on the carom before Heat coach Erik Spoelstra called timeout to re-group.
“[Celtics coach Doc Rivers kept preaching throw it to him," Rajon Rondo said of Garnett. "[Miami] went small. Nobody can jump as high as Kevin. LeBron is athletic or [Udonis] Haslem, but they can’t get to the ball.”
“I mean, KG is a difficult match-up for a lot of guys,” James said afterwards.
Spoelstra can try to stop the bleeding. And James can go nuts — as he did Friday, putting up 34 points, 8 rebounds, 5 assists, 2 steals and 2 blocks and making the game more interesting down the stretch than it should have been. But the Heat’s roster has a few crucial flaws that the Celtics exposed on Friday, problems that have work-around solutions but no great answers.
Miami’s issues — their lack of quality interior players and their lack of depth, which often can lead to an over-reliance on James and (Dwyane) Wade — don’t take a rocket scientist or a brain surgeon to diagnose. But they are easy to overlook or forget when the Heat play as well as they did from Game 4 of the Eastern Conference semifinals through Game 1 against the Celtics. When James and Wade are both clicking, both attacking without pressing, both finishing and drawing fouls, everyone else around them looks better.