This is what the Miami Heat envisioned when their Big Three decided to join forces last summer. A trio of Dwyane Wade, LeBron James and Chris Bosh were sure to post playoff success against any opponent—and the plan is working to perfection. James scored 35 points and Wade added 28 as the Heat took a 2-0 lead in their best-of-seven series with the Boston Celtics, taking Game Two with a 102-91 victory at Miami’s American Airlines Arena on May 3.

In Game One, it was Wade who shined, slicing the famed Boston defense with a 38-point dagger. In Game Two, it was James’ turn to punish the Celtics, and the former two-time MVP didn’t disappoint. James put on a personal highlight show in the second half, where his 24 points after intermission were key to a 14-0 Miami run that improved the Heat to 4-0 at home this postseason. While James sizzled in the second half, Wade steamed in the first as Boston’s Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen took turns posing for the next Wade poster. Wade sparked his own 8-0 run to close the first half highlighted by a blow-by, fakeout move on Garnett before making Allen fall on a crossover and burying a three-pointer.

Wade’s series electrified a roaring Heat crowd and pushed Miami to a 47-42 halftime lead. Although the offense from James and Wade was often mesmerizing through Game Two, it was Miami’s defense that perhaps made the biggest impression. The Heat blocked nine shots, including a vicious swat from James on Garnett’s late game attempt.

“That’s our staple. We know the only way for us to win games, especially in the playoffs, is to play defense,” James told reporters. “Everyone has each other’s back. If one guy gets beat, another steps up. They made a run, a heck of a run but we just kept grinding, kept playing our principles, and we finally wore them down.”

Five Celtics scored in double figures, including Rajon Rondo, who led Boston with 20 points and 12 assists. Game Three is May 7 in Boston at 8 p.m.


Stephen D. Riley

Special to the AFRO