The Boston Celtics responded in a big way on Saturday night, with a loud 97-81 victory over the Miami Heat. Kevin Garnett was especially impressive, with 28 points and 18 rebounds. At least for tonight, he looked anything but old.
It was to be expected that Boston would come out with every ounce of energy and passion that they had, trailing Miami by 2 games they simply could not afford to lose this game.
What was not to be expected was the very poor play from LeBron James and Chris Bosh. Both stars were very inefficient, combining to shoot 30% from the field. Not good enough to beat anyone in the NBA, let alone the defending Eastern Conference Champions.
It was very frustrating to watch from a Heat perspective. Bosh called it the most difficult game he would ever have to play to this point of his career, and it showed. He was awful.
Bosh could not get anything going as Garnett clearly was the better player. He beat Bosh on the boards both offensively and defensively. It allowed for too many second chance opportunities for Boston, many of which ended up in 3 point conversions.
As for LeBron James, he settled too much for his jump shot. A criticism that has followed him his entire career. Even if Boston is stacking the paint, James must be aggressive and force the defense to collapse. It is the only way to get easy shots for teammates.
While Dwyane Wade started off well, bad play proved to be contagious as he only managed 6 points in the second half. Wade finished with 26 points on 8 of 19 shooting.
Shaquille O’Neal got his first action of the series, although limited. In 8 minutes, Shaq scored 2 points and had 1 assist. It is very apparent that he is not healthy. A very sad sight for one of the all-time greats.
Joel Anthony and Mario Chalmers were great for the Heat off the bench. Both provided much needed offense and energy. Mike Bibby and Zyndrunas Ilgauskas reverted back to their 1st round ways. Neither of them had any sort of positive impact in game 3.
Coach Spoelstra said he will “evaluate everything,” in regards to his line ups heading into game 4 on Monday. At some point Ilgauskas and Bibby either need to start producing or start cheerleading.
Game 4 on Monday now becomes pivotal. Win, and Miami takes this series in 5 games. Lose, and this series is well on its way to a seventh game.