Heat 91, Celtics 101
We don’t need to write up the Key Moment of Game 3 for you because Erik Spoelstra wrote it for us during his postgame press conference.
“The reserves came into the game and really knocked us back on our heels,” said Spoelstra, alluding to the latter portion of the first quarter. “And from that point on we were playing catch-up, it seemed like, the whole night. We couldn’t get over the hump.”
He revisited that stretch moments later, singling out Marquis Daniels and Keyon Dooling.
“They sparked the game with their energy, their defensive effort,” Spoelstra said of the bench duo. “Our guys can do the same thing as well. It’s a credit to them for staying ready. That’s probably when the game turned, like I said, when the reserves came in. They took back the lead. We were up at that point, 28-22, I think, and then from that point on we were playing catch-up the rest of the night.”
He hit the nail directly on the head. Boston went on a 15-0 run that was capped by a Kevin Garnett layup with 7:47 remaining in the second quarter. That basket put the C’s ahead 37-28, and the lead never dwindled to less than seven points from that point on.
The key stat of that stretch is this: Miami went a full 7:09 without scoring a single point. A single point! That’s an extraordinary fact considering all of the offensive firepower the Heat possess on their roster.
It’s not often that a moment in the first quarter stands out to a coach enough to make them highlight it several times after the game. Tonight was one of those rare occasions, as Spoelstra took the reigns and described the Key Moment for us.
Key Box Score Line
Doc Rivers said after Game 3 that there was only one instruction he could give Rajon Rondo after the point guard’s epic performance in Game 2: Get the ball to Kevin Garnett. Rondo was all ears.
The Celtics’ point guard, and the rest of the team for that matter, looked in Garnett’s direction all night long and it did wonders for Boston’s offense. Garnett strung together another fantastic game by leading the team in both scoring, with 24 points, and rebounding, with 11 boards. Those 11 rebounds were also a game high.
Garnett’s scoring and rebounding totals both surpassed those of Game 2 (18 points, eight boards), but the shocker is that the Big Ticket was able to accomplish those feats in limited playing time. Thanks to Boston blowing the Heat out for the majority of the game, Garnett logged only 33:49 of playing time. That’s almost 12 less minutes than he played in Game 2. That means KG scored more points and grabbed more rebounds than he did two nights prior while essentially playing an entire quarter less of basketball.
Oh, and did we mention that the Celtics outscored the Heat by 27 points while he was on the floor?
Wow. What a game.
Box Score Nuggets
- Rajon Rondo accounted for 10 of Boston's 16 assists. Those 10 assists were a game high.
- Rondo also scored 21 points.
- Boston scored 58 points in the paint.
- The teams combined to commit just 23 turnovers.
- After attempting 24 free throws during Game 2, LeBron James attempted just five during Game 3, making one.
- James scored a game-high 34 points on 16-of-26 shooting.
- Kevin Garnett led the Celtics in scoring with 24 points and led the game in rebounding with 11 boards.
- Both teams committed 24 fouls.
- Miami shot just 10-of-20 from the free-throw line, while Boston shot 20-for-26.
- Marquis Daniels (nine points, five rebounds) and Keyon Dooling (seven points, four rebounds) combined for 16 points and nine boards off of Boston's bench.
- Three Celtics scored at least 21 points, while only one Heat player scored more than 18.
- Rondo scored 21 points on 9-of-16 shooting.
- Mike Miller led Miami's bench with 11 points and six rebounds.
- The teams shot nearly identical from the field - Boston shot 38-for-76, while Miami shot 38-for-77.
- Only four Celtics recorded an assist.
- Dwyane Wade did not attempt a free throw in the game.
- Boston led by as many as 24 points.
- Paul Pierce scored 23 points despite shooting just 2-for-21 from the floor.
Quote of the Night
Kevin Garnett on tonight's crowd in TD Garden: "The jungle was rockin’ tonight. I want to thank all the fans who came out. (Expletive)’ jungle was rockin’ tonight! I loved it. (Explitive)’ loved it."