Wednesday night, the Boston Celtics showed that they could compete with the Miami Heat, as they took their hosts to overtime before losing the second game of the Eastern Conference Finals 115-111. Friday night, as the action shifted to Boston, the Celtics showed that they can dominate the Heat as they entered the third quarter of game three holding a 22 point advantage over their guests, before settling for a 101-91 victory.
Boston now trails Miami 2-1 in the match-up and can tie up the series with a win in game four. The home team held a slight edge at the conclusion of the first 12 minutes of play, however they would take control of the contest in the second and third quarters as they outscored their opponents by a 55-35 margin.
The Celtics shot 50% (38-76) for the night, as Kevin Garnett and Rajon Rondo both racked up double-doubles, as Garnett knocked down 24 points while Rondo had 21 in the game. Paul Pierce scored 23 points and Ray Allen once again played well on tender ankles as he added 10 points in the win. LeBron James would once again be the leading scorer in the contest with 34 points, but it would not be enough to keep his team in this game. Dwyane Wade dropped 18 points while his back-court mate Mario Chalmers scored 14 and Mike Miller came off the bench with 11 points.
Boston finally took advantage of their front-court strength in Friday night’s game, for the first time in the series; as they outscored their guests 58-46 in the paint while they out rebounded the Heat 44-32 for the night. They held Shane Battier and Udonis Haslem, both whom had hurt them in this series, to a combined 3 points and 9 rebounds for the game. James led the team in rebounds with eight while no other player had more than six for the night. The Celtics will need to continue to dominate the inside game if they hope to head back to Miami with this series tied at 2-2.
The two teams will be back on the hardwood at the “New Garden” for game four Sunday night before the series shifts back to Miami for game five.