By A.Sherrod Blakely
MIAMI The Boston Celtics have a well-deserved reputation for being a physical team, one that you don't push around.
The Miami Heat aren't quite there yet -- but they're getting closer.
For all of Dwyane Wade's scoring and James Jones' 3-point bombing away, it was Miami's ability to be the more physical team, to be the aggressor, that ultimately led to the Heat prevailing with a 99-90 Game 1 win over Boston.
"Both teams are physical and this is the playoffs," said Heat coach Erik Spoelstra. "At this point in the year, you can't be someone you're not. We're trying to play our game and the habits we've built for five months and do it better than them for four games."
No statistic better exemplifies the physical nature of Game 1 than the number of technical fouls (five) handed out to both teams.
"It's going to be physical," said Boston's Rajon Rondo. "There were five technical fouls called. I'm sure there will be a lot more during the series."
For some players, Game 1 was just the beginning of what they anticipate will be a very physical series.
"Every game is going to be physical," said Miami forward Chris Bosh. "As the series progresses, I think it will get more physical."
Even some of the more mild-mannered players got into it.
Heat forward James Jones got into it with Paul Pierce, with both being whistled for a technical foul.
Less than a minute later, Pierce and Dwyane Wade had words which led to another double technical being called.
For Pierce, it was his second technical and with that, he was ejected.
That sequence summed up the kind of night it was for Pierce, who did not talk to the media after the game, and the Celtics as a whole.
"I thought as a whole we were the retaliating team all night," Rivers said. "We were never the first-hit team."
While it was pretty clear that the Heat played with greater force most of the game, Rivers wasn't sold on the notion that Game 1 was all that physical even if his team was whistled for three technical fouls and had another player, Jermaine O'Neal, whistled for a flagrant foul.
"You knew it was coming," Rivers said of the technicals. "All the Heat did was talk about being physical. To me, that is not being physical, that is being chippy. We didn't handle it well."
And while the Heat would love for the C's to struggle handling their force in Game 2, Miami isn't banking on it happening.
"We have to be prepared for them to not lose their composure," Bosh said. "I think they'll do a better job on Tuesday, so we have to watch a lot of film and be ready for them next game."