The Boston Celtics came out of the blocks with renewed vigour and confidence as they knew a defeat in Game 3 would virtually end their chances of making it to the NBA Finals. The home team battled hard and remained strong for the course of the game to conquer the Miami Heat and pick up a 101 - 91 victory at the Garden. Boston outscored their opponents in the first three quarters and their hefty lead allowed them to take the foot of the gas in the final quarter. Miami tried to rally back but the deficit was too large for them to overcome in the fourth quarter, thus allowing the 17 time NBA Champions to half their lead in the series, making it 2 - 1.
Mega performances came from Kevin Garnett, Rajon Rondo and Paul Pierce who combined for 68 points in the game. KG was nailing the buckets throughout the game and was hot from the paint. He added a team high 24 points and gathered 11 rebounds in a dominating performance for his team.
Rondo spoke about KG's contribution on the night, "Not just scoring. Kevin does all the little things. He does all the intangibles defensively. He's out best help defender, our best communicator. I can go on and on..."
Rondo continued his hot streak, making some excellent dishes, teasing the defenders in the opposition. Paul Pierce had poor percentages but he tried and tried and tried again till he got those crucial buckets in the game.
Miami had a 22 point deficit to deal with at the end of the 3rd quarter and it was just too much for them to handle. They outscored the Celtics by 12 points in the final quarter and that turned out to be the only period in the game where they dominated completely. LeBron had a massive game yet again, scoring a game high 34 points.
The regular season MVP spoke after the game, "We can't dig that big of a hole on ourselves. We were down 24 points. When you start fighting uphill any little mistake hurts, because you're trying to fight back the whole time."
The shooting was top draw in this game with both teams converting about 50% of their efforts. Celtics were stronger in the paint despite being sub par throughout the course of the postseason. The home team outscored Miami 58 - 46 in the paint. This turnaround in the team's offence made a huge impact and contributed greatly to their victory. But the defence from the Celtics was as strong as it would ever be. The veteran team had 44 rebounds on both ends of the court and they kept things tight in the backcourt, ensuring that the likes of Dwayne Wade would have few open shots to convert.
Doc Rivers commented on the intensity of Game 2, "The difference was our defensive energy which allowed us to run. We ran in the space."
Game 4 remains in Boston and another victory for the hosts will blow the series wide open. Dwayne Wade had a below par game and in the absence of Chris Bosh, Miami can't afford to have their big stars not coming up with the goods. The C's had solid tactics in this game. Rajon Rondo is slowly proving to be one of the best generals on the floor and creating plays around his holistic game will keep the Celtics in good stead. This series is turning out to be exactly what one would've expected from two top quality sides. Both teams are really turning on the steam and a lot is expected from the upcoming matches.
Final Score: Miami Heat 91 - 101 Boston Celtics
Game on Saturday night
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