at Miami Heat (10-4, 2-1) at Boston Celtics (9-7,1-2)
Sunday, June 3, 2012
8:30 PM ET
Playoff Game #17, Home Game #9
TV: ESPN, TSN
Radio: WEEI, ESPN Radio
TD GardenProbable Starters
PG: Rajon Rondo ........................................................SG: Ray Allen
C: Kevin Garnett
SF: Paul Pierce .........................................................PF Brandon BassCoach:
Doc RiversCeltics Reserves
Mickael Pietrus Injured
Paul Pierce (knee) probable
Mickael Pietrus (hamstring) probable
Ray Allen (ankle) probable
Greg Stiemsma (feet) probable
Avery Bradley (shoulder) outProbable Starters
PG: Mario Chalmers ......................................................SG: Dwyane Wade
C: Ronny Turiaf
SF: LeBron James ...................................................PF: Shane Battier
Coach: Erik Spoelstra Heat Reserves
Chris Bosh (ab strain) out Key Matchups
Paul Pierce vs LeBron James
We haven't seen a big game from the Captain in this series as yet. He had 23 points, 4 rebounds, 4 assists in game 3 and did a good job of defending against James without getting into foul trouble, but Pierce can play much better when he really sets his mind to it. I expect a big game from the Captain and the Celtics have to continue to play team defense on James to keep him out of the paint.
Rajon Rondo vs Mario Chalmers
Rajon Rondo has been playing some incredible basketball in this series so far. He has been running the offense, hitting his shots, and playing good defense. Chalmers has also been playing well in the series so far but there is no question that Rondo has out-played just about everyone. The Celtics need Rondo to continue his 0ther-worldly play in order to win this game and even the series. The Heat really have had no answer for him. Honorable Mention
Kevin Garnett vs Ronny Turiaf/Joel Anthony
Kevin Garnett had yet another impressive performance in game 3. The Heat have thrown Turiaf, Haslem, Anthony, and even James at him to no avail. In game 3, KG moved closer to the hoop and was playing in the post more and there was nothing the Heat could do to slow him down. KG needs to continue to play in the post and anchor the defense in this game as well. Key Off the Bench
Mickael Pietrus/ Marquis Daniels/ Keyon Dooling
These 3 players were key to the victory in game 3. They came off the bench to give the starters some rest and they keyed a defensive stand that kept the Heat scoreless for a stretch of over 6 minutes. Marquis especially was effective in cutting to the hoop and grabbing rebounds and jumping into passing lanes. Dooling's defense kept Chalmers from getting the team into their offense. Pietrus also played good defense and even though he didn't hit a shot, he was able to help stretch the floor and also was active on the boards. The Celtics need the same type of effort from these key bench players again in game 4.
Joel Anthony/ Udonis Haslem/ Mike Miller
The Heat need Anthony to come in and help defend KG along with blocking shots and grabbing rebounds. He is their only real size inside with Bosh out. Haslem is a thug and is good for at least one very hard foul a game. Miller is clearly hurting, but hit 3 huge 3 pointers to help the Heat cut the lead in the 4th quarter. The Heat's bench players contributed in their wins in Miami but struggled in game 3. The Celtics need to limit their production again in this game. Keys to the Game Defense
- As always, defense is key to winning. Period. The Celtics must play tough in your face defense from start to finish. They can't let themselves get caught up in a shoot out and must concentrate on getting stops. Just as in game 3, the offense feeds off the defense and so tough defense is absolutely the key to a win. Rebound
- When the Celtics out rebound their opponents, they usually win the game. In game 3, the Celtics out-rebounded the Heat 44-32. Much of rebounding is effort and the Celtics have got to continue to crash the boards as a team and the effort that they show on the boards usually transfers to their entire game. Focus and Take Care of the Ball
- When the Celtics aren't focused, they tend to turn the ball over way too much. The Celtics tend to lapse into sloppy ball at times and turn the ball over. Against a team like the Heat, turnovers will most surely lead to a Wade or James dunk. The Celtics turned the ball over just 10 times in game 3 and the Celtics have to keep their focus and continue to make smart passes and take care of the ball. Bench Play
- The play of the Celtics' reserves was a key to winning game 3. Keyon Dooling, Mickael Pietrus and Marquis Daniels all contributed quality minutes off the bench. This unit keyed a defensive stand that held the Heat scoreless for over 6 minutes, allowing the Celtics to build the lead that would withstand the Heat's comeback attempt in the 4th quarter. The Celtics need their reserves to come up big in this game as well. Be Aggressive
- The Celtics must come out as the more aggressive team from the start. They must be more aggressive chasing loose balls, going after rebounds, playing defense, and most of all driving into the paint and getting to the rim. They can't settle for jumpers. The Celtics outscored the Heat 58-46 in the paint in game 3 and they have to continue to be aggressive in getting into the paint in game 4. Controlling the paint will be key to getting this win. Game Notes
The Celtics will look to even up the series in this game. If they can get another win and take the series back to Miami tied at 2, it's a whole new series. A loss would pretty much guarantee the Heat a series win since it would be difficult for the Celtics to have to win 3 games in a row including 2 in Miami.
Erik Spoelstra has said that he doesn't expect Chris Bosh to play in this game even though he accompanied the team to Boston and participated in their Friday shootaround. The Celtics once again used their off day to rest and view film, choosing to save their legs for the games. It's expected that all of the Celtics will be available for the game.
Both teams know the importance of this game and we can expect a bar fight. The Heat know they gave the Celtics some life with the win in game 3 and are going to try to get the momentum back. Word is that they were loose and unconcerned in their locker room after the game and so they still feel they have control of the series.
The Celtics have to come out with energy and keep that intensity up throughout the game. They must again limit Wade and James, especially in the paint. And they have to move the ball and run their offense and make a concerted effort to get into the paint themselves. If the officiating is fair, the Celtics have a good chance to get the win and take the series back to Miami tied at 2 apiece. X-Factors
Officiating and Effort
We have seen in the 3 games so far that officiating is absolutely key to this series. In game 2 the Celtics played very well but the officiating was inconsistent and the refs made some bad calls against the Celtics down the stretch and in OT resulting in a loss. In game 3, the Celtics once again played very well but the officiating was consistent and fair and the Celtics won. The way game 4 is called is absolutely crucial to the outcome.
The Celtics effort in game 1 was lacking and they never were really in the game. In the last two games they showed great effort. They could easily be up 2-1 if the officiating had been even in game 2. The Celtics need to bring that same kind of effort and intensity in this game in order to get the win.