Celtics Avoid the Burn, Hold off Heat in Game 3
Published: Saturday, June 2, 2012
Updated: Saturday, June 2, 2012 11:06
Game 3 Results: Boston Celtics defeat Miami Heat, 101-91, and now trail the series 2-1.
When Juwan Howard is on the court it’s either a good or a bad thing, depending on how you look at it. On Friday night it was a good thing for the Celtics as they won their first game of the Eastern Conference Finals.
Boston, defending their home court, came out explosive and got great production from bench players like Keyon Dooling and Marquis Daniels. The starters held their own, too, as Paul Pierce, Rajon Rondo and Kevin Garnett all finished with over 20 points.
As for Miami, they controlled the tempo for a while with their transition game early on. Notice I said early on, because somewhere in the middle of the game Boston completely took over. The C’s lead was up to 24 points in the fourth quarter until Miami battled back and cut it to nine.
But at the end, the Celtics were too much for the Heat as Rondo carved up the defense for some easy layups, securing the win.
Who’s Hot: LeBron James.
The three-time MVP continues to show us why he is one of the greatest players to ever step foot on a basketball court. Despite Miami’s Game 3 loss, LeBron still finished with 34 points, eight rebounds and five assists. The Heat have played 14 games this postseason and LeBron has scored 30 points or more in eight of those games. In the six games that he didn’t score 30 or more, only three of those games resulted in losses. He’s simply continuing to dominate the game and it is evident that he’s out to prove something this year. Whether or not he will finally get that ring, only time will tell.
Who’s Not: Dwyane Wade
While LeBron is putting up consistent numbers night after night, Wade has not been doing the same. Now let’s make something clear, for some players a 20-point game is a great night. However, that isn’t the case for D. Wade. We’ve seen a few games this postseason in which Wade just hasn’t played up to his ability and it’s costing Miami games. In their Game 2 victory Wade only had two points at halftime. Luckily the Heat still won but there’s no excuse for a player of his caliber to have two points at the half. On Friday, Wade finished with only 18 points and did not shoot a single free throw. Perhaps the C’s defensive game plan was to contain Wade and not let him get to the line, which they did. But remember, Wade had a few mediocre games in the Pacers series before he exploded and had a couple of monster performances. Perhaps a little déjà vu?
Biggest Question for Celtics: How much more is left in the tank? I’ve been preaching this for a while but home court advantage is crucial in the NBA Playoffs. We saw how Oklahoma City responded to San Antonio in Game 3, and the Celtics were just another example of that. Dooling said after the game that the team fed off the TD Garden crowd.
Kevin Garnett didn’t hesitate to share his feelings on the Boston fans either. “The Jungle was rocking tonight. I want to thank all the fans … the fu**ing jungle was rocking tonight. I loved it! I fu**ing loved it!,” said KG. But can they do it again on Sunday night? If they win Game 4 in Boston it’s a tied series. If they lose Game 4, the Heat head back to Miami with a 3-1 lead and a chance to win the Eastern Conference in front of their home fans.