After dropping Game 1 of their Eastern Conference Semifinals series against the Miami Heat, the Boston Celtics need to regroup, lest they face a 2-0 deficit when the series shifts back to Boston on Friday. Sunday afternoon, the Celtics yielded 47.1 percent shooting to Miami, and 47.4 percent on three-pointers. That sort of defense won't get it done against a team as talented as Miami. In a vacuum, Boston ought to beat the Heat when Ray Allen shoots 5-of-8 on threes, Chris Bosh shoots just 3-of-10 overall, and the giveaway-happy Celtics commit only 13 turnovers. But that's not what happened.
It starts with containing Dwyane Wade, who popped off for 38 points on 14-of-21 shooting despite his struggles against the Cs in the regular season. The Celtics' challenge is accounting for him and LeBron James (who had an ordinary, by his standards, performance in Game 1) at the same time. The Heat's offense didn't reach historic levels in the regular season, despite their talent, because too often either James or Wade took possessions off while the other involved himself in two-man action with Bosh. But Miami has started putting its three stars in motion simultaneously, which pressures opposing defenses to pay extra attention.
If any team is disciplined and skilled enough defensively to handle Miami, it's Boston, which has a strong track record on that end of the floor since Kevin Garnett's arrival in 2007. It won't be easy, of course, but an engaged Celtics squad can accomplish the task, which is key to leaving South Beach with a 1-1 split.