Wallow in the absurdity of Doc Rivers being hit with a technical foul for not properly genuflecting before referee Eddie Malloy.
Cringe at Kevin Garnett drawing a team technical after tapping the ball.
Vent at the travesty of what passes for officiating in the NBA when you're favored team is facing the Miami Heat in South Beach.
Get it out of your system.
Now, let's talk about what matters after Boston's 93-79 loss in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference finals.
Starting with the amazing end-to-end play of LeBron James and Dwayne Wade.
Or the 11 blocked shots by the Heat.
Or the continued lack of production from the Celtics bench.
James was unstoppable Monday night. The Celtics were unwatchable for three out of four quarters. Clanged free-throws. Missed jumpers. Tepid defense in the second half. Even when they took two points off the board at half-time, all the Celtics could do was manage a tie. Boston has yet to hold a lead in the Eastern Conference finals.
LeBron hasn't smiled this much since "The Decision" and that's just because he got to watch Wade. When Wade wasn't lobbing bombs to a wide-open LeBron, he was hitting fade-away jumpers off his right foot, scoring with his left-hand while being guarded by Paul Pierce or blocking shots. "We let Wade, we let LeBron play in extreme comfort," said Doc Rivers.
The only thing Wade didn't do in Game 1 against the Celtics was kick a field goal. Matt Moore and David Garrard take notice, Wade clearly demonstrated that he's the best quarterback in Miami with his 85-foot assist to LeBron. The last time a pass looked that good in Miami-Dade County it came off the arm of Tom Brady.
James teamed up with Wade to smother Rajon Rondo and pillow-face any shot the Celtics may have had in this game by triggering a dominant third quarter, playing much of it off the floor.
The duo's numbers were simply dynamic. This was a dark night for the Celtics. Wade and James combined for 54 points on 21-of-34 shooting, hit 12 of their 15 free throws and totalled 16 rebounds, 10 assists and five blocks. Ray Allen and Pierce, meanwhile, hit just six of their 25 field-goal attempts for 18 points. The only blocks those two had were the figurative cinder-blocks weighing down their feet. Allen hit just one of six shots for six points. Take away his quick back-to-back 3-pointers in Game 7 against Philly, and Allen has scored just six, five, nine, five and five points in his past five games.
It wasn't all James and Wade, either. Shane "Bleeping" Battier had 10 points and 10 rebounds.
This was Lakers-Celtics circa 1984 pre-McHale/Rambis. After Game 3 of that series, Larry Bird admonished his teammates for playing "like a bunch of women." Monday, the Celtics moved like little old ladies. Time stood still, or maybe it was just the Celtics on defense. "They had way too many lay-ups," Rivers said of Miami amid the wreckage of Game 1. "There's no way any team should get that many point-blank shots against our defense."
The Celtics didn't look so much old as they looked old fashioned. They were sucking ... wind the entire second half, settling for one-shot possessions while taking and missing the outside shots they were given by the Heat. Or having their attempted layups swatted away. On defense, the Celtics barely left the floor. Boston had one block in Game 1. Dr. Shaq stopped more shots in his post-game analysis on TNT Sunday night.
The refs had little to do with any of this. While Malloy may have been wearing a Heat jersey, he wasn't playing defense. And the those three atrocious techs called against Boston (Rivers called his "the worse I've ever had") came in the second quarter, when Boston scored 35 points and eventually tied things 46-46 at the half.
If this is a "make-miss league" the Celtics got it half right Monday. The Celtics failed on 49 of their 81 attempted heaves, shooting just 39.5 percent. The Celtics supporting cast flopped as it has so often in the postseason. Boston's bench scored 14 points, with about half of those coming in garbage time.
The Celtics fell flat on opening night in South Beach. They aren't getting any younger or quicker or more athletic. All "The Stones" in the world can't make up for lead in the legs.
How about: "C'mon Celtics."
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