Celtics/Heat Game 3 Recap
‘The Truth’ hurts once again.
by Sam Guelil
If there was ever a must win, this is it. Miami is hosting the visiting Celtics down 0-2 and need Game 3 desperately to get back in this series. If Boston goes up 3-0, then it’s basically a wrap since no team in league history has come back from this scenario. If Miami can win this game, well then you never know what can happen. Game 1 was a little closer than what the final score indicated. The late game activities that caused Kevin Garnett to be suspended for Game 2 served as no consequence to the Celtics. They smacked the Heat by 29 points and showed why you can never doubt the heart of a champion.
Miami needs to find a second scorer. Their lack of a Batman has Wade doing all the heavy lifting. When Miami took Michael Beasley second overall in the 2008 Draft, I’m sure they envisioned him being a little bit further along than he currently is. Beasley is immensely talented and can put major numbers up. He is really Miami’s best shot as being that second scorer. They’re a lot of rumors swirling around Beasley. Their is talk of if he’ll be around next year, if Pat Riley tried to trade him at the deadline, even that the Heat may not have wanted to draft him at all. We’ll tackle that issue when the time is right.
Maybe Jermaine O’Neal can find a way to get going? He’s been disappointing thus far in the two games shooting 4-24.
I am in the building people. It’s about 2 hours before tip time and you can already feel the Playoff atmosphere. Miami has called for a blackout, calling for all of their fans to wear black Heat gear. But I see a decent amount of green already in AmericanAirlines Arena. The Celtics are one of the League’s true staple franchises, so this very isn’t surprising.
Boston’s Doc Rivers on the game: “Rebounding is always the key for any team on the road, taking care of the ball, especially against them. Miami is one of those teams where if you turn the ball over you should just write two points because Wade in transition, there is a very likely chance he is going to score. On the road you have to win all the hustle points and you can’t lose the turnover game. We know that at home the role players and everybody else play better.”
Miami’s Erik Spoelstra on the game: “It is about getting back and grinding. This is what this team has done all season long. We have another opportunity tonight to crawl back into this. Everybody is looking forward to playing in front of our home fans. It will be energized. Our players love playing in front of these fans. We have to find more strength and composure than we did in the first two games. Tonight is about getting to our game. We have not gotten to our game consistently for 48 minutes yet. It is our turn now in front of our home crowd. We have a tremendous opportunity in front of our home fans.”
When they come out, Boston is greeted with a loud orchestra of boos sprinkled in with some Celtic cheers. The C’s are really bouncy. They got that kangaroo bounce in their step. Paul Pierce looks focused and belts out a loud roar as if a Lion claiming his spot in the wild kingdom. Nate Robinson says what’s up to the ESPN crew and is like a cartoon character moving all over their half of the court. The Heat are focused and have that let’s take care of business look to them.
I have my pregame meal in me, as Miami went Thanksgiving style with turkey, stuffing, mash potatoes, steamed veggies, and salad. I’m feeling really good and there is no amount of tryptophan that could get me tired for this one. This house is rocking! We have Serena Williams, Rick Pitino, and Chris Johnson in the building. Their ready, Wade’s ready, KG is ready, and I’m definitely ready….Let’s get it!
Both teams exchange buckets early. Wade hammers home a follow up dunk from the weak-side off an Arroyo missed jumper that has the crowd in a frenzy.
Ray Allen continues his hot shooting from Game 2 drilling a 3 from the left wing. There is no sweeter looking jumper in the game than this man’s. They don’t call him Jesus for nothing.
Wade answers back as he slashes thru defenders like they are green cones. I know his nickname is flash, but I’m calling him slash from now on. Wade has 8 of the Miami’s first 10 points, and with 5:58 left in the first quarter the game is tied at 10.
Slash knifes thru the defense once again and converts on a 3-point play.
Ray Allen has a nice take to the cup as he convert with his left making the score 21-18 Miami with 2:39 to go in the opening quarter.
Wade throws a nice underhand lob in transition and finds his boy Dorell Wright who slams home a reverse two-hander. I’m sure that will be on SportsCenter later…
Paul Pierce 9 points
Dwyane Wade 15 points
Wade rests for about two and a half minutes and enters the game.
Sheed just picked up his 3rd foul so I’m sure he’ll be sitting for the rest of the half. Not really a huge loss for the Celtics since he’s been pretty much a nonfactor in this series. It’s 33-31 Boston with 8:38 to go in the second.
Momentum is starting to go the way of the Celtics until Quentin Richardson hits a big three to cut the lead to 39-34.
Chalmers is making some nice plays here in the second quarter.
With the half coming to a close, Dorell Wright goes to his favorite spot on the court and hits a corner 3 to give his squad the lead.
Wade 15 points, 4 assists
Rondo 13 points, 3 assists
Allen 11 points, 5 assists
Beasley is coming out with an aggressiveness that he should always be playing with.
A mini 3-point contest is opening up. First it was Allen, then Wade, then Arroyo, then Allen again, then Wade again.
O’Neal continues his struggles that have plagued him throughout the series, he just can’t hit anything.
A lazy pass by Q leads to a Rondo steal and breakaway dunk. Miami calls a timeout as Boston leads 62-61 with 6:18 left in the third.
Celtics just forced Miami to a shot clock violation thanks to more good defense from Tony Allen. 68-67 Miami with 3:02 left.
ESPN is interviewing Rick Pitino…
Here comes “The Truth,” A step back jumper from 18 feet followed by 3-point play.
As the ball is inbounded Wade vents his frustration and gets hit with a technical foul.
Pierce caps off an 11-2 Boston run to close the quarter as he hits from downtown.
Wade 28 points, 6 assists, 4 turnovers
Allen 22 points, 5 assists
Pierce 21 points
Rondo 15 points, 5 assists
Spoelstra gambles by giving Wade a much needed rest to start the quarter.
Chalmers and Rondo exchange buckets. After a Pierce 3, Boston leads by 9 with 85-76.
Wade is back in.
Beasley scores a quick 6 points and Wade throws one down in transition and Miami now leads 92-91 as they are on a 16-6 run with 3:46 left. During that sequence Wade came down awkwardly on his right calf and is cramping.
Udonis Haslem a.k.a. the new Charles Oakley, hits from 19 feet off a nice pass from Dorell Wright to put Miami up 94-92 with 2:50 to go.
Ray Allen drills another 3-pointer and makes it 95-94 Boston with 2:10 left.
Bang Bang! Pierce hits another 3 off a second chance opportunity, then Dorell Wright answers with one of his own. We got a good one here as the score is 98-98 with 1:29 left.
With under a minute left and Miami with the ball, Spoelstra elects not to take a timeout and let Miami go. They end up with an off-balance shot from Udonis Haslem that doesn’t fall. Pierce grabs the board and the Celtics call timeout with the game still tied and 46 seconds left.
Doc calls on Ray and runs a baseline screen for him. Allen’s 3 point attempt comes up short and Miami grabs the board with 33 seconds left.
No timeout called again, the Heat end up with a Wade 3-point attempt that is no good. Another Pierce rebound and Boston once again calls timeout to draw something up. Looks like Wade lands on Ray Allen’s foot and cramps up that calf again. Wade is down and out.
Tie game 98-98 and 11.7 seconds left in the game. Wade is on the bench because of that cramp in his right calf muscle. Michael Finley has checked in for Kendrick Perkins.
The shot clock is turned off and everybody is on their feet.
Paul Pierce gets the inbound pass a few feet outside the 3-point line in the middle of the floor and has Dorell Wright on him. Pierce crosses over with his dribble from left to right in an almost hypnotizing manor. It’s apparent Miami is going to play this one straight up. As the clock starts to tick away, Pierce makes his move with around 2 seconds left. “The Truth” takes a hard dribble going to his right just beyond the right elbow. Pierce gathers himself and pulls up with a step back jumper and lets it fly just before the horn sounds….Straight Buckets Baby!
“The Truth” has once again set everyone free, free to leave that is. We can all go home now.
Boston wins it 100-98 and now has a commanding 3-0 series lead.
Wade 34 points, 8 assists, 5 rebounds, 5 turnovers
Beasley 16 points, 6 rebounds
Pierce 32 points, 8 rebounds
Allen 25 points, 5 assists
Rondo 17 points, 8 assists, 5 rebounds
Boston’s Doc Rivers on Paul Pierce: “He is a star. He never loses his confidence. The play before the Ray missed shot Paul glanced over and you could tell he wanted the ball. You always like when your players do that. He hasn’t played great in the first two games but you could feel before this game he was starting to get his rhythm and when he gets in his rhythm he is really good.”
Miami’s Erik Spoelstra on the game winner: “For the last we figured it would be a pierce Garnett pick-and-roll. Instead they iced it and gave him a shot there at the end. They are one of the most difficult teams to get a read on. We’ve spent a lot of time trying to do that.”
Boston’s Kendrick Perkins on Paul Pierce: “He was huge. That’s the Truth. He lives for games like this. I expected him to do that tonight. He was attacking and his jumper falling.”
Boston’s Ray Allen on Paul Pierce: “We put our faith in his hands that last shot. He came through for us. It is great to have somebody that can make shots like that at the buzzer and put us in good standing.”
Miami’s Dwyane Wade on his injury: “I had nothing. I was trying to fight through it and pass to my teammates. I kind of knew once I was on the floor that cramp was not going away.”
Miami had a foul to give at the end of the game and you have to wonder why they didn’t use it. Boston coach Doc Rivers said after the game that they had another play already drawn up in case Miami did give that last foul.
The Heat had some other guys other than Wade contribute in Game 3. Michael Beasley had 16 points, Dorell Wright had 15, and Udonis Haslem and Mario Chalmers each had 10. But Jermaine O’Neal struggled mightily once again. He was 1-7 from the floor, had 2 points, and didn’t play the final 17 minutes of the game. If you’re keeping score at home, J.O. is now 5-31 in the series thus far. Let’s give Boston Center Kendrick Perkins some credit now. He’s one of the best guys at his position from a defensive standpoint, but O’Neal is clearly not the player he used to be.
As for Boston, they have weapons galore. They’ll be a tough out since they have four guys who can get you 20-plus points on any given night. Defensively, they do a great job. They were really focused tonight and the C’s look like things are starting to click for them. Ray Allen is a free agent after this year, and boy is he making himself some coin. Some thought he was done…no sir. Ray Ray’s jumper is still as wet as anyone’s in the League.
The NBA is a star driven league, and once again Paul Pierce was the brightest one Friday night. “The Truth” is indeed just that. He is a big shot taker and a big shot maker. Pierce is not super-athletic, he’s not flashy, and when you think about the best players in the League, his name doesn’t come to mind right away. You know what, that has to change. The media and fans tend to look at numbers and eye catching highlights to rank the top players in the Association. You can have the gaudy numbers, the jaw-dropping dunks, and all that other nonsense. I’ll take results and “The Truth” when the game is on the line. In fact, since the ‘02-03 season, only Kobe (7) and Gilbert Arenas (5) have more game winning buzzer beating shots than Pierce’s 4. This also includes the Playoff games. Dwyane Wade also has 4 of these game winning shots.
This was a really good game with a nice Playoff atmosphere. The game was tied 14 times and had 14 lead changes.
Game 4 is Sunday at 1 p.m. ET. The Celtics will be looking to sweep so they can get some extra rest before the next round.