MIAMI (CBSMiami) – A duo of players helped power the Miami Heat in Game 2 Wednesday night; but it was someone besides the Big Two of LeBron James and Dwyane Wade.
Both James and Wade did their usual magic, scoring 57 points, pulling down 16 rebounds and dishing out 11 assists combined. But it was another pair of Heat players who stepped up big for the Heat to fill in the hole left by Chris Bosh’s absence.
Point guard Mario Chalmers and power forward Udonis Haslem both played big minutes against the Celtics in Game 2 and combined to score 35 points, pulled down 14 rebounds, and dished out 9 assists to help pace the Heat.
At the same time, Boston’s bench completely disappeared in Game 2. The Celtics’ reserves combined for seven points, five rebounds, and one assist in the game.
With Chalmers and Haslem forming a formidable foursome for the Heat in Game 2, no lead by the Celtics was safe. The Celtics led by 15 points in the first half, yet the complete team effort by the Heat on both ends of the floor helped get the Heat rolling in the second half.
“There just can’t be any other way with this team,” Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra said. “And it has to be the hard way.”
Even Shane Battier, who has struggled with his shot this year, hit a big three-point shot for the Heat down the stretch in the fourth quarter.
“One of the best games I’ve played in, win or lose,” Battier said. “It’s easier said when you win, but it’s unbelievable.”
Boston head coach Doc Rivers said the free throw disparity between the teams was stark in Game 2.
“LeBron James took 24 free throws tonight,” Rivers said. “And our team took 29.”
Miami finished the game 31-47 from the line, while Boston went 26-29 from the charity stripe. Boston was called for 33 personal fouls to Miami’s 18.
Still, the Heat’s style of play is as much to blame as anything for the free throw issues. Wade and LeBron have been attacking the basket since Game 4 of the last series against the Pacers and when they drive, it greatly increases the likelihood they will get hacked in the lane.
In the end, despite Boston’s Rajon Rondo having a career game and scoring 44 points; Miami took Boston’s very best shot and ended up with the victory. The Heat’s dynamic duo continue to lead the team, but it’s a total team effort that is pushing the Heat on a one-way path to the NBA Finals.