ECF – Game 3 Preview

May 30, 2012; Miami, FL, USA; Boston Celtics point guard Rajon Rondo (9) dribbles the ball between Miami Heat point guard Mario Chalmers (15) and center Joel Anthony (50) during the first half in game two of the Eastern Conference finals of the 2012 NBA playoffs at American Airlines Arena. Mandatory Credit: Robert Mayer-US PRESSWIRE

Tonight the Boston Celtics will find themselves in the same situation that Oklahoma City Thunder were in yesterday evening. Their backs are against the wall, as Miami will look to win away from home, and take a commanding 3-0 lead in the series.

Game 2 was a dog fight up till the very end, as Boston were carried by Rajon Rondo’s heroics. The guard recorded a historic 44 points 10 assists and 8 rebounds stat line, without leaving the game and playing all 53 minutes.

Despite Boston’s best efforts, improved performances by Allen and Pierce, the Heat managed to hold the edge, coming out on top with a 115-111 victory in overtime.

Keys to the game

Expect Boston to come out with a sense of urgency. It is practically a win-or-go-home game for them, as no team has ever overcome a 3-0 deficit in a playoff series. The problem for Boston is their bench play. Miami’s bench has taken criticism throughout the whole season, but Boston really has little to no bench. The starters will have to continue playing big minutes, and hope for some kind of contribution from Stiemsma, Pietrus and Dooling.

May 30, 2012; Miami, FL, USA; Miami Heat small forward LeBron James (right) looks over at Boston Celtics head coach Doc Rivers (far left) and point guard Rajon Rondo (center) during a time-out the second half in game two of the Eastern Conference finals of the 2012 NBA playoffs at American Airlines Arena. Miami won 115-111in overtime. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-US PRESSWIRE

For Boston to win this game Rondo has to continue along the same path he was on in game 2. He probably wont score 40, but the Celtics need him to have a high triple-double. Allen was looking better in game 2, knocking down the 3 to tie the game and force overtime. He needs to continue running of screens and knocking down the shots when he gets them. Brandon Bass has been doing a good job rebounding the ball, but Celtics will probably need him to contribute more offensively.

Mario Chalmers was overshadowed by Rondo, but had one of his best games of this this season. He scored 22 points on 8-16 from the field and had 6 assists. Shane Battier and Mario Chalmers have both been quite solid in the starting lineup, and need to continue scoring the ball to take the load of James and Wade.

May 30, 2012; Miami, FL, USA; Miami Heat shooting guard Dwyane Wade (3) makes a basket over Boston Celtics power forward Kevin Garnett (5) as small forward Mickael Pietrus (28) and power forward Brandon Bass (30) watch during the fourth quarter in game two of the Eastern Conference finals of the 2012 NBA playoffs at American Airlines Arena. Mandatory Credit: Robert Mayer-US PRESSWIRE

The start of game 2 resembled game 4 in the Eastern Conference semi-finals for Dwyane Wade. He didn’t make a field goal until the end of the 2nd quarter, as he was getting trapped off pick and rolls, and was forced to make tough passes. The focus of Boston’s defense shifted in the 2nd half and Wade was able to finish the game with 23 points. Despite a slow start, and missing the game winning shot at the end of regulation, James scored 34 points. LeBron got to the line often and shot 18-24 from the free throw line. Both James and Wade combined for 35 free throw attempts, which is 6 more than the whole Boston team. Both stars need to keep attacking the basket and put Boston’s starters into foul trouble. Paul Pierce fouled out in the 4th quarter in game 2, just like he did in game 7 against Philadelphia, so James needs to remain aggressive.

Topics: Boston Celtics, Game 3 Preview, Miami Heat

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