Game 4 preview: Celtics look to exploit size advantage


Game 4 preview: Celtics look to exploit size advantage

BOSTON Size hasn't exactly been a trait associated with the Boston Celtics this season, unless you're talking about something they've been lacking.

But in the Eastern Conference Finals, Boston has had a massive mismatch in the middle with Kevin Garnett and whoever the Miami Heat have trotted out there to guard him.

Not only has Garnett had his way around the basket, but lately he's had help -- lots of it, actually.

And it in Game 3, it resulted in 58 points in the paint -- a ridiculously high number for a team that only has one low-post scorer (Garnett), and he usually spends about as much time on the perimeter as he does in the paint.

"We have the size advantage with Kevin and Brandon Bass," said Paul Pierce. "So the emphasis is to try to get the ball in the paint as much as possible. If they collapse, find our shooters."

But in Friday's win, most of the shooters for Boston were slashing to the basket for layups.

"They were able to get probably the easiest buckets they were able to get all the playoffs," said Heat coach Erik Spoelstra. "And particularly in the paint, at the rim, I think we had playoff highs in layup attempts allowed and points given up in the paint."

The 58 points in the paint scored were the most by the Celtics this year, regular season included.

"So we have to be much tougher in those areas, the effort areas, the big-muscle areas, which we were in the first two games," Spoelstra said.

Not surprisingly, limiting Garnett and the C's overall scoring in the paint was a topic of conversation during the Heat's preparation for Game 4.

"Their penetration, their concerted efforts to get Garnett in the paint, was very damaging to us," said Miami forward Shane Battier. "So we'll have to work, we'll talk a little harder and work easier to limit those points."

Points in the paint will once again be a factor in tonight's outcome. Here are few other keys to keep in mind as the C's try and even up the best-of-seven series:

WHAT TO LOOK FOR: Coming off his free-throw-less Game 3, Miami will look to establish Dwyane Wade early. That'll be a huge departure from what he's done to start the first three games. In those three games, Wade has scored a total of six points in the first quarter. "I'm a patient person," Wade said, "so eventually things will hopefully loosen up and I'll get opportunities where I can attack and get into a rhythm a little more."

MATCHUP TO WATCH: Celtics bench vs. Heat bench: Each game in this series has featured the winning team getting a big game by someone off the bench. In Games 1 and 2, it was Miami's Mike Miller and Udonis Haslem, respectively, stepping up with strong play. In Boston's Game 3 win, the Celtics got scoring and good defense from Keyon Dooling and Marquis Daniels. Tonight's game will likely be decided by which second unit makes a greater impact.
PLAYER TO WATCH: Rajon Rondo's been putting up unprecedented numbers and Kevin Garnett's contributing with double-doubles, but Ray Allen has steadily moved closer to looking and playing like the Ray Allen of old. He had 13 points in Boston's Game 3 win, which included a one-handed, driving dunk -- the kind of play a guy with a bum right ankle probably isn't going to even try unless he's feeling better. "It was a little surprise," Allen said. "Yeah, feeling pretty good."

STAT TO TRACK: Miami has been one of the best all season at converting turnovers into points, evident by its No. 2 ranking in points off turnovers (17). But the Celtics have kept all three games relatively close because of their ability to limit mistakes and, in turn, minimize the damage they can cause. The C's are only giving up an average of 10 points per game off turnovers in the series, while averaging 11 points per game off turnovers themselves. For the playoffs, they are tied for ninth in that category with 14 points off turnovers per game.

Ray Allen tells court he was 'catfished'


Ray Allen tells court he was 'catfished'

ORLANDO, Fla. — Retired NBA star Ray Allen said he is a victim of “catfishing,” and has asked a court to throw out a case where he is accused of stalking someone he met online.

Allen filed an emergency motion in Orange County, Florida, on Tuesday, one day after Bryant Coleman told the court he is being stalked by the 10-time All-Star and two-time NBA champion.

Allen said Coleman is the one who is stalking.

“Coleman pretended to be a number of attractive women interested in Ray Allen,” read the motion filed on Allen’s behalf. “Ray believed he was speaking with these women and communicated with them.”

Attorney David Oscar Markus released a statement saying Allen took legal action in an effort to put an end to threats against him and his family, and that Allen was the victim “of an online scheme to extract money and embarrass him by someone who appears to be troubled.”

In the filing, Allen said Coleman threatened to reveal details of their conversations, and that the sides eventually struck a deal to keep everything private. Allen said that deal has been violated and that Coleman has continued to harass him and his family through several social-media accounts.

“He posted about Ray’s wife, Ray’s children, Ray’s dog, Ray’s homes, Ray’s wife’s restaurant, and numerous other personal items,” read the motion. “Coleman not only posted about these things, he would actually post while physically located inside Ray’s wife’s restaurant in Orlando. And he would make sure they knew it, tagging Ray and his wife on those posts.”

Allen asked the court to stop Coleman from “cyber-stalking.” It was not clear if Coleman has an attorney, and a working phone number for him could not be found.

“Ray regrets ever engaging with this person online and is thankful they never met in person,” Markus said. “This experience has negatively impacted Ray, and he hopes that others might use his mistake to learn the dangers of communicating online with strangers.”

Allen is the NBA’s all-time leader in 3-pointers made. He starred in college at UConn and won championships with the Celtics in 2008 and Miami in 2013, the second title coming after he made one of the most dramatic shots in playoff history — a game-tying 3-pointer with 5.2 seconds left in regulation of Game 6 of The Finals against San Antonio, a game that the Heat would win in overtime to extend the series to a seventh game.

Allen also played for Milwaukee and Seattle, and last appeared in the league in 2014. He and his family have lived in the Miami area since.

© 2017 by The Associated Press