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ASK IRA: Has Heat-Celtics East finals turned into a quarter poll?

Q: Quarters, we talking quarters? How silly is that, we talking about quarters, man? (In my Allen Iverson voice.) – Douglas.

A: In my years of doing this, outside of summer league I can’t recall such a conversion about the amount of quarters a team has won in a series. I get it, Celtics coach Ime Udoka attempted to use it as motivation for his team after Boston’s Game 1 loss, pointing to how they had won three of the four quarters. And now the ledger of quarters in Boston’s favor in these East finals is 10-2, even with the Heat ahead 2-1 in the best-of-seven series. But even in the ballroom at their team hotel the Heat utilized for Sunday’s media session, Erik Spoelstra had the most quizzical of looks when asked about the Celtics’ dominance in quarters won. It was almost as if he wanted to know when that had become a thing. The answer, of course, is since Tuesday. “At the end of the game, the clock turns to zero, did we win or did we lose?” Spoelstra said of his preferred measuring stick. “That’s what our focus is on.” If this proves to be the path to a championship, perhaps the inscription on the rings will be, “But didn’t win a lot of quarters.” Anyway, that’s my two cents.

Q: Do the Celtics list someone else as a starters so Marcus Smart can come running out of the tunnel before Monday’s start? – Elon.

A: Well, duh. Based on the Celtics’ flare for drama, there probably will be rumors planted of Marcus Smart’s demise, just so it can be cast as a resurrection when/if he takes the court Monday. TD Garden, where drama happens.

Q: Why haven’t we heard more about the draft? The Heat have a first-round pick. – Lawrence.

A: Because that’s what happens when the Eastern Conference finals come at the same time as the NBA pre-draft camp. But the Heat have been here before, juggling deep playoff runs and draft evaluations. Still, with Pat Riley free to trade the No. 27 pick, after the trade-deadline machinations with the Thunder, who knows how exhaustive such preparations will need to be?

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