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NBA Playoffs: Boston got one, but can they beat a better Heat?

May 9, 2011, 4:24 PM EDT

Boston Celtics forward Pierce defends Miami Heat forward James during the fourth quarter of Game 3 of their NBA Eastern Conference playoff series in Boston Reuters

Boston looked good in getting the Game 3 — they were defending again, they had the inspiration of Rajon Rondo‘s rreturn, they got big games from Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce

Which is to say just about everything except Rondo’s elbow went right for Boston. Don’t expect that to be the case a second game in a row. This time things will be closer, and Boston is going to have to fight and defend harder to get the win.

The Heat are going to make starting lineup changes, and the smart money says they will start Mario Chalmers at the point and his job will be to attach himself to Rondo’s right him and play him hard. Force him to go left. Do not back off all the time and do what he wants, he’s not going to shoot a jumper. If Rondo can handle that pressure the Celtics will be one up.

The other big advantage in Game 3 was that Kevin Garnett dominated his matchup with Chris Bosh, who did his Pau Gasol impression for a game. Boston needs to win this battle again, if Miami and Bosh can force it to a stalemate (as it was the first two games) they win.

Boston once again has to keep LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Bosh in check — that is where the majority of the scoring has to come from for the Heat. There is no balance. The three combined for 44 points in Game, while Pierce and Garnett had 55. Boston needs that kind of win, again.

The Celtics stand a better chance of getting one big game out of their role players — Delonte West is the most likely. While Miami will not get a lot of points out of their subs (unless the Celtics leave James Jones open a lot again) the bench battle is one the Celtics must win big.

The Celtics need things to go right, but they have been here before. They are used to the pressure and the intensity. They know how to make things go right.

Does Miami? That may be the biggest question. This is the first real big test of the playoffs, the first real question asked of this Heat team. How do they answer? With renewed defensive intensity, or do they still look like a deer in the headlights?

Either way, you can bet this game will be a lot closer than Game 3, likely going right down to the wire.

  1. miamatt - May 9, 2011 at 4:55 PM

    Look for mia to get Bosh going early… They can’t let KG dominate again. Best defensive energy wins tonight. That simple.

  2. nfl25 - May 9, 2011 at 5:14 PM

    Its very difficult for the heat to win away from home. They don’t get the calls they are used to when they are away from home. And they get visibly frustrated. If they didn’t always bank on getting to the line, they would play much better away from home. But all you see is wade and lebron complaining to the officials the whole time. I am not a celtics fan but I hope they lose just cuz of what wade did to rondo (if u r gonna say it was an accident, see the slo mo version)

  3. mannyfresh209 - May 9, 2011 at 6:08 PM

    I would say Miami does just fine on the road… Didn’t they tie for best road record in the league this year?

    • nfl25 - May 9, 2011 at 6:38 PM

      im talkin about the playoffs so far. the first two games of each series, escpecially the sixers first two games, d wade and lebron would go to the line if someone touched them. it wasnt like that for them in game 3 or 4 in philly and it wasnt like that saturday.

  4. bhester1906 - May 9, 2011 at 8:14 PM

    Miami doesn’t have a Big 3. No disrespect but Bosh is just a little above average. Your asking to much for him to compete with KG. He just needs to be confident. He looks liek a freakin scared kitten on the court.

  5. mannyfresh209 - May 9, 2011 at 10:25 PM

    The Heat handled business, and the series

    • pff - May 9, 2011 at 10:29 PM

      Amen. where are all the Boston loudmouths now???

      • andyhr17 - May 9, 2011 at 10:55 PM

        Probably letting the overconfident cocky Heat fans declare themselves world champions.

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