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You Can Send Danny Ainge Another Thank You Card Now

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Can somebody beat the Miami Heat, please?

It doesn't look like it will be the Brooklyn Nets, not after last night's 107-86 drubbing in Game 1. Ray Allen had 19 points, which is 11 more than Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett combined for in the loss. Pierce mustered eight points on 3-for-8 shooting. Garnett had an 0-fer in 15:46 of play. Not even Eddie House in his prime could prevent the Nets from losing this series in four or five.

It won't be Indiana, either. The Pathetic Pacers are down, 1-0, to the now-vaunted Washington Wizards. It's a series Indiana won't be able to botch its way out of. Not this time, not against John Wall and Bradley Beal, one of the best young backcourts in the game. Beal has a little Ray Allen in him, which is ironic because he'll have a big part in knocking out the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference before the Pacers would have faced Allen's Heat.

At one time this year, the Pacers were a real threat to keep the Heat out of the Finals and away from their third straight NBA title. Now they're just a major disappointment to fans around the league who would like nothing more than to see Miami lose.

The reunion of the old Big Three in the Heat-Nets series is enough to lure in some curious Boston fans to the games, but forgive me for not getting all nostalgic here. Far more interesting than the reunion is the reminder with every LeBron James blow-by that the Celtics got three first-round picks for guys with a combined age of 73. Garnett is 10 years removed from his best statistical season, when he averaged 24.2 points and 13.5 rebounds. Pierce has averaged 12.8 points per game in the playoffs. That's something Celtics fans wouldn't let Jeff Green live down, nevermind Pierce.

It's somehow easier watching the declines of Pierce and Garnett from afar, like watching an ESPN 30 for 30 documentary of the events rather than seeing the gritty details in real time. For Garnett, who is averaging 19.5 minutes per game in the playoffs, the time is ticking away rather alarmingly.

Danny Ainge finished seventh in the NBA's Executive of the Year voting Wednesday, an award that went to San Antonio's R.C. Buford. It didn't win Ainge any fancy awards this year, but getting three first-round draft picks for Pierce and Garnett may go down as one of the best trades in NBA history. Send him something nice, will you?


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