More physical therapy on tap
MIAMI — The day after a Game 1 between the Heat and Celtics in which there were five technical fouls, an ejection, and a whole bunch of stuff in between that Boston coach Doc Rivers classified as “chippy’’, the Heat were clear on one thing.
There’s plenty more where that came from.
Although they don’t expect the type of physicality that goes beyond the rules, the Heat expect the intensity to keep rising in a series that started off with its share of nudges, shoves, and hard fouls.
“Nobody wants to get suspended,’’ forward Chris Bosh said. “Guys are smart, so nothing serious will ever happen. We just play basketball and that’s really it.’’
Coach Erik Spoelstra said the Heat, who won Game 1, 99-90, hadn’t gotten any warning from the league regarding flagrant fouls but he thought they probably would.
“We’re physical teams, we’re defensive-minded teams, we play a similar style of basketball and it’s the playoffs so that’s all it is,’’ Spoelstra said. “We’re not overblowing the physical part of it. We’re not trying to be somebody we’re not. They’re not trying to be anyone they’re not.’’
The Heat know the Celtics have a history of stealing road games, and Miami’s players said they’re ready for both teams to step up their effort for Game 2.
“I think we could turn it up more,’’ Bosh said. “The intensity is going to turn up more as the series progresses. It was good for Game 1, it’s going to be more intense for Game 2, so I think we can do a better job of being intense — nothing extra — but there’s nothing wrong with hard fouls, there’s nothing wrong with being physical. That’s a part of the game.’’
Forward LeBron James didn’t think anything that happened in Game 1 was outside the norm for a playoff series between two defensive teams.
“I don’t understand what the conversation is about, chippiness and all that,’’ James said. “We’re going to go out there and play a physical game and the best team will win the game and that’s all it’s about.’’
Not lulled to sleep The Celtics’ Kevin Garnett was held to 6 points and eight rebounds Sunday but the Heat said they won’t fall into the trap of thinking he’ll continue to underperform offensively throughout the series.
“I thought we were in tune whenever he got the ball and we were just trying to give help to our bigs and our bigs did a great job of putting him in a situation that he’s not comfortable in,’’ James said. “We just contest all their shots and be aggressive with them and just try to attack them offensively, too. We don’t expect KG to have a game like he had, but we also don’t expect [Bosh] to have a game like he had.’’
Bosh finished with 7 points, but he added 12 rebounds, which he thought was a solid performance.
“I think I did a good job,’’ Bosh said. “For one, we won the game, and I rebounded the ball and I didn’t make that many mistakes on defense.
“On offense, I’m not really worried about that. I know I can make shots and I’m glad I made mistakes in the first game because it lets me know I have room for improvement.’’
Haslem is close Forward Udonis Haslem, who hasn’t played since late November because of a ruptured ligament in his left foot, said he still hasn’t gotten clearance to return to the lineup, although he is close and participating in full practices.
“Coach is watching me closely and I’m sure he’s seeing things that he wants me to continue to try to improve on and that’s what I’m going to continue to try to do until he feels like I’m ready,’’ Haslem said.
He said some aspects of his game, such as explosion and timing, won’t be there right away, but he’s not been experiencing any pain the day after practices.
He’s especially anxious to return to this series because it’s his style of game.
“I think I could definitely be part of this series,’’ Haslem said. “The physical aspect I bring to the game, it could probably help us a little bit. We’ve got enough guys scoring, we’ve got enough guys doing other things, it’s the physicality part, I’m definitely sure I could help them.’’