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More notes and reaction from Game 3

 

There’s a lot to touch upon today, and later in the day we will take a closer look at Rajon Rondo’s injury status, KG’s vintage performance, and whether or not Dwyane Wade has turned into a dirty player.

But for now, let’s stay focused on Game 3.

Of all people, I think Miami coach Erik Spoelstra said it best. Regardless of what happens in the series, the Celtics are not going down without a fight, and the Heat know that.

“That was championship caliber response.  No other real way to put it.  They came out and played extremely hard.  They played harder than us and played more efficiently than us.  And they’ve earned that pedigree of the battles and the wars that they’ve been in the last four years, where we are trying to get to.  We’re trying to take down a champion and it will be one of the toughest things we have to do collectively.”

The Celtics, knowing their backs were against the wall, came out and played a very efficient first quarter. From what I could tell, the C’s only had 2 or 3 bad offensive possessions in the first frame. Paul Pierce was a man on a mission. KG was getting involved early. And unlike we saw in South Beach during the last two games, the C’s were attacking the basket with regularity.

Of course, then the C’s bench, which was outscored by Miami’s subs 21-12 in the first half, allowed the Heat right back into the game.

But in the 2nd half, we saw the Celtics play up to their true potential for the first time in this series. Yes, Rondo’s inspirational effort had something to do with that, but the Celtics had built up their lead even prior to Rondo’s return. The C’s finished the game shooting 50% from the field and 9-18 from downtown. They dished out 27 assists and turned the ball over an acceptable 12 times. They played team basketball, and for the first time, made Miami really look uncomfortable.

Some other random things to think about:

AFTER 3 GAMES, WHAT DO WE KNOW ABOUT HOMECOURT?

It’s more important for Miami, for two reasons.

1. Defensively, the Heat’s effort was minimal last night in comparison to Games 1 and 2. In Miami, there were times when I found myself thinking, “How are the Celtics going to score against this team, with LeBron and Wade and everyone giving 150% effort on the defensive end?” Last night, the thought never even crossed my mind. When they’re at home, it just seems like they feed off the crowd and crank up the energy level on each defensive possession. Last night, the Heat did not have that same intensity on defense, and that’s what made them beatable.

2. The Heat can’t play at their tempo as easily. When they play at home, the Heat are much more likely to go on those 11-2 runs that make them so difficult to beat. You know, where LeBron has two fast-break dunks, James Jones hits quick 3-pointer, and then Wade does some acrobatic move and completes a 3-point play. It seemed like that was happening every quarter in Miami. But not in Boston.

SOME GREAT INSIGHT FROM CHRIS BOSH

On when he pinched his nerve and how it affected his game:  “It was this morning.  I don’t want to make any excuses.  I had a bad game.  Those are going to happen.  I wasn’t in the right places at the right time.  I didn’t make many plays on offense or on defense and I can do a lot better.  Like I said before, I’m not going to make any excuses.  It is what it is and nobody cares about it.  That’s how it’s going to be.”

On how he pinched his neck:  “I woke up.”

On if he woke up with a crick in his neck:  “Yes.  Something like that.  Yes.”

WHAT ABOUT SHAQ?

His teammates and coaches seemed to think he made a big difference, but I really feel sorry for the big fella. After he scored his only 2 points in the first half, and then gingerly hobbled back on defense, it was kinda funny to watch, but also sad at the same time. As much as I appreciate his willingness to get back on the floor, it doesn’t appear that Shaq will be able to contribute much more unless he is healthier. He played 8 minutes last night, and I would expect his minutes to be the same tomorrow (if he’s not still sore from yesterday).

BIG BABY AND JEFF GREEN

For Doc, maybe his decision to only play Big Baby for 11 minutes in last’s night’s game was about the matchups. Because unless the Heat go small, these are not good matchups for the undersized Davis.

But Doc had plenty of good things to say of Jeff Green, who didn’t have the best scoring night, but found other ways to contribute.

“He was huge.  I mean, it’s a great example where probably in Jeff’s career he’s been judged on points scored.  And you know, maybe for the first time in his career he was as valuable as he’s ever been at any point in his career without scoring.  He scored a couple points.  But his defense, his pressure, getting up, his deflections, him running the floor, stretching the floor for other people, that’s the Jeff Green we want to see every night.  It was great.  He has to keep doing that.”

  • jeffery6803

    For Doc, maybe his decision to only play Big Baby for 11 minutes in last’s night’s game was about the matchups. Because unless the Heat go small, these are not good matchups for the undersized Davis.
    ======================================================================
    well Mike nice try to let down BBD softly but realistically he has been awful the last 3 months of the season any other coach probably would have already moved on Doc being so loyal continues to give BBD the opportunity to prove himself but that was hurting the team hopefully we continue to see more of Green vs BBD

    • MikeSalvucci

      dont worry, im more anti-BBD than anyone i know. but i'd love to hear doc explain why he finally came to this conclusion in game 3 of the semi-finals, and not, like you said, 3 months ago.

    • Eric

      Baby has not been good offensively the second half of the season, but he worked pretty well against NY and usually still plays good defense; when defending post players, he's a better option than Green. I think it's more a question of matchups than of Baby's overall awfulness. The only time I like Baby against Miami is when he's being guarded by James Jones. Other than that, Green needs to be the guy.

  • Jay Cutler

    I didn't watch the game but who was guarding and boxing out Joel Anthony? Yeesh!

    • Batman

      No one

  • Phil

    I've been very pleasantly surprised by Green's defense on Lebron, he seems to hold up pretty well, and that could definitely help Pierce as this series looks likely to go 7. Green looked really good in general last night; good around the basket and active on defense (he tipped the Rondo steal first.) He badly airballed the open 3, but that seemed to be a reaction from being overhyped, which is probably a reaction to how he was playing on the other end.

    We just need to make sure that he's never at the 4 at the same time as Joel Anthony, because, yikes.

  • kricky

    IMHO another big difference from the games in Miami is that they were able to GET the ball to KG in the post and paint. They had a tough time even making entry passes to him in those first two games. It seemed like every pass was tipped, stolen, or off the mark. As JVG pointed out during the game Ray, RR, and Delonte made some really nice passes that found KG in a great position to score. Let's keep this up!

    • Andrew

      Absolutely – KG is a good matchup for the C's almost all the time in this series. Keep feeding him the ball down low

  • Viva

    The league should allow Celtics to wear sunglasses in Miami cause of those damn withe T-shirts. I think that's distracting, even for me watchin' it on tv, and I can imagine how is to be in middle of it.

  • talesofJP

    KG can own Bosh whenever he wants to. That should be a huge advantage we should exploit going forward as basically everyone else is getting injured.

  • skeeds

    Allright. I have to say this. After a whole year of yelling at the screen, but then convincing myself Doc knows better. ENOUGH with the "2nd unit on the floor" plan. It's not working. It's the only hole the C's fall into every single game. And it is unnecessary!!! Why should there be a time where all 5 reserves are on the floor? Why should there be exactly 4 lineups we go to?

    Pretty much every reserve plays great with the starters, or with starters on the floor. Doc should abandon the "2nd unit to start the 2nd quarter" plan all together and rotate much, much more. Maybe I'm influenced by watching a lot of euroleague basketball lately, but it seems to work just fine, for the european champions. Panathinaikos had 2 or 3 "starters" on the floor at all times, while even starting a "reserve" at the 5. (Helps to have a loose definition of the 1-2-3 spots and having Diamantidis molest any of those matchups at will, I have to say)

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