AP Photo/Charles Krupa
Paul Pierce reacts to missing a potential winning shot at the end of last year's Game 4.ESPN Boston's Peter May writes today on the similarities between this year's Eastern Conference finals between the Boston Celtics and Miami Heat, and when the two teams met last season in the conference semifinals. A year ago, Boston -- trailing 2-1 after dropping the first two games and winning the third -- missed some late-game opportunities to win Game 4 and ultimately fell in overtime. The series ended one game later.
When the similarities of the two series were brought up at Saturday's practice, Boston players acted as if they had amnesia.
"I don't even remember last year, I don't know," said Celtics captain Paul Pierce. "I know we didn't win the series."
The Celtics might not remember the specifics -- and you can't blame them for trying to forget -- but they remember the unceremonious end. Point guard Rajon Rondo had dislocated his elbow in a Game 3 win and was hindered the rest of the way. The team could never get center Shaquille O'Neal and his bum Achilles back on the floor. Pierce missed a key shot at the end of regulation in Game 4, then turned in a quiet Game 5 effort. Soon their season was over.
Does that drive the team this time around?
"I don't remember last year," barked Kevin Garnett.
OK, so what does Ray Allen remember about last year?
"Nothing," he said.
Nothing? What about being in a similar position this time around.
"I don't attribute anything to this year from last year," he said. "I just know that they beat us last year and sent us home. So right now we know what the game plan is for this team. That's where my focus is."
Celtics coach Doc Rivers was asked about the loss and said, "I know we lost. I think that's the game Rondo got injured."
Actually, that was Game 3, Coach.
"Yeah, it was Game 3," he said. "I don't even remember. That tells you what I remember. I know we had opportunities, clearly. We had a couple of great shots. I think we had a terrible possession, now that I think about it, before overtime, our last possession, if my memory serves me correct."
Was the amnesia wearing off? A reporter confirmed Rivers' memory, noting Boston spoiled a chance to win it before the extra session where Miami raced away.
"Thanks for bringing that up," Rivers cracked. "I thought you were better than that."
One thing is clear: After last year's Game 4, the Celtics hope they are better than that.