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Celtics Build 24-Point Lead, Hold on to Beat Heat in Game 3

Kevin Garnett (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

After Wednesday’s crushing loss in Game 2, many wondered how the Celtics would be able to respond at home in Game 3. I mean, they played just about as well as they possibly could (Rajon Rondo had a legendary, historically significant effort), yet the team fell in overtime.

But, the C’s were home in Game 3, and they have way too much pride and championship experience to let the Heat get ready to sweep them on their own floor. So, the Celtics led by as many as 24 in the second half and held off a furious rally by the Heat to win 101-91. The Celtics still trail in the series 2-1.

Rondo Magnificent Again

Rajon Rondo didn’t score 44 points, but he was the main facilitator yet again for the Celtics, finishing with 21 points, 6 rebounds and 10 assists. He had several lobs inside to Kevin Garnett, who was magnificent himself. KG finished with 24 points on 10-16 shooting with 11 rebounds.

Paul Pierce did a nice job, for the most part, creating his own shot. He had a tough time from the field (7-20), but he was perfect (7-7) from the line to finish with 23 points. He did it all, too. He hit two threes, blocked two shots, finished with four rebounds, four assists and a steal.

LeBron James led the way for the Heat again, finishing with 34 points on 16-26 shooting and grabbed eight rebounds. He only got to the line five times, and hit just one of his free throws.

Dwyane Wade, on the other hand, did not get to the line at all, and ended up with a pretty inefficient game: just 18 points on 20 shot attempts.

Marquis Who?

Remember that Marquis Daniels guy? Oh yeah, he was good a couple years ago, but wow, I feel really bad for him after that injury last season. Who does he play for now?

Daniels, who is still a Celtic, played a pivotal role off the bench in Game 3, scoring 9 points (4-6 shooting) and grabbing 5 boards in his 17 minutes. Chances are we will be seeing him a little more often for the rest of the series.

Keyon Dooling also did a nice job off the bench, finishing with seven points on 3-4 shooting. He defended both guards well as he tries to fill Avery Bradley’s shoes.

Key Numbers

  • With Garnett on the court, the Celtics outscored the Heat by 27!
  • So, that means with Garnett on the bench, the Heat outscored the Celtics by 17…
  • The Heat finished just 10/20 (50%) from the free throw line. James went just 1/5 and Wade didn’t attempt a free throw.
  • After playing more than 45 minutes in Game 2, Garnett played just 33 minutes in Game 3 as Doc Rivers did a nice job resting his starters.
  • For those critical of the officials (and rightfully so)…the two teams each finished with 24 fouls, but the Celtics (26) did make it to the line more often than Miami (20).

Up Next

The Celtics will look to even up the series Sunday night at 8:30 p.m. Chris Bosh may play for the Heat in Game 4, but his status is unknown for now.

About KC Downey - @kc_downey

KC is the "head coach" of the Sports of Boston, LLC blog network. Follow him on Twitter: @kc_downey

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