2012 NBA Eastern Conference Finals Recap: Heat vs. Celtics Game 3

| by The No Look Pass

EAST Finals * Game 3 * Heat lead series, 2-1

I think LeBron James left Cleveland so that he could get more help from his buddies on the basketball court, right? Well, he had a flashback of some sorts for a little bit. He pretty much had to carry the Heat by himself in the first quarter. It was a tad weird that Boston was able to keep up with the pace. Boston led Miami, 30-28, after 1. The 3-time MVP scored 16 points.

Then the Celtics played some awesome D in the 2nd. With James not being able to do much in that quarter, the Heat were held down to 14 points. They had a 7-minute drought (that carried over from the end of the first) and Boston was able to take advantage with help from guys like Marquis Daniels and Keyon Dooling. This continued on to the third quarter even when LeBron regained his touch. All this time, there was a milk carton with Dwyane Wade's face on it.

A Ray Allen dunk (I thought he had busted ankles!) put the Celtics up, 87-63, early in the fourth quarter. I had initial thoughts of playing Bubble Bobble when guys like Mario Chalmers and Mike Miller woke up. Miller put in three three-pointers in the fourth while Super Nintendo Chalmers told every Celtics player to blow his cartridge by scoring 5 points in a minute. His last freethrow cut the lead all the way down to 95-87 with three minutes left in the game.

But the Heat rally ended right there. Rajon Rondo went coast to coast for a lay-up and then Kevin Garnett made a jumper to seal the game and keep this a series.

This was just a game where Boston looked like they wanted it more. And it's pretty impressive to come back like this after a disheartening loss in their last game. The Celtics outrebounded the Heat, 44-32. Erik Spoelstra tried different line-ups, even putting LeBron on the 5 at one point. But really, it was only James that showed up for this game while the rest of the Heat... well... not so much.

Boston had three players that scored over 20 points: Garnett (24), Paul Pierce (23), and Rajon Rondo (21). Daniels' 9 points and 5 boards were also a big help as well as Dooling's 7 points and ball pressure all over the court.

LeBron finished with 34 points and 8 boards but he probably should've gone for 45. Wade did finish with 18 points but he didn't have much of an impact and was, sometimes, lost on defense. Chalmers had 14 points and Miller finished with 11.

Most people have an overreaction after every playoff game. But now we're going to wonder if the Heat's other players show up in Game 4. Can the Celtics keep this up? Will Chris Bosh play in the next game?

Only one way to find out. In the meantime, the Thunder look to tie the Spurs in their series tomorrow night.

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