Three things we learned Friday night at TD Garden:
C’s bench steps up
With the amount of injuries suffered by the Celtics this season, it’s no wonder the team hasn’t gotten any production from what’s left of the bench. But for Game 3, that wasn’t an issue.
The bench – especially Marquis Daniels and Keyon Dooling – played its best game of the postseason, accounting for 19 points and 14 rebounds in the Celtics’ 101-91 win over the Miami Heat. It was Daniels and Dooling who sparked the C’s to end the first quarter, and that type of play carried over to the rest of the game. Mickael Pietrus also did a commendable job on the defense end, trying to limit LeBron James and Dwyane Wade as much as possible.
The Heat aren’t a big squad down low, and especially not so without Chris Bosh. The Celtics tried exploiting that in Game 3, constantly attacking the rim, crashing boards, and doing damage in the paint.
The Celtics out-rebounded the Heat, 44-32, and don’t think that it didn’t play a huge role in the outcome of the game. Boston also only allowed the Heat to grab six offensive rebounds, below what they normally allow opposing teams to do on the glass. And when it came to points in the paint, Boston scored in the mid-50’s, to the Heat’s mid-40’s.
Not going down without a fight
The Celtics did exactly what they needed to do in a must-win game: win.
Like the Thunder did on their homecourt, the Celtics showed that the series is nowhere near over.
Three players on the Celtics – Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, and Rajon Rondo – all scored over 20 points in the game, and the Heat simply didn’t have enough answers for a C’s team dead-set on winning. No NBA team has ever come back from an 0-3 hole, but you can bet plenty have come back from down 1-2. The C’s will look to even things up on Sunday (8:30 p.m., ESPN) for Game 4.
Will LeBron James and Co. step up to the heightened challenge?