The result of Game 3 was actually pretty easy to predict. You have a young, emotional team like Chicago coming off two very tight games against the defending champs. They had stolen home court and they were returning to a city, hell… a country, that thought they were going to knock off the big, bad Celtics. The fact that they came out a little too jacked… a little too aggressive… came as no shock at all.
But I wouldn't expect the same result today. They've been humbled. They saw that anything less than their best game is going to lead to a very disappointing result. They've also had a couple of days to relax in their own homes. To get back into their own routines. To walk through the new wrinkles of the Celtics defense. They've calmed down, and they realize they've made mistakes.
"We rushed our offense instead of taking our time and staying poised," Noah said. "We took bad shots.
"It was embarrassing. It’s a situation we can’t forget. But we must
cherish the ball and play every possession like it’s our last."
I wouldn't be surprised if a focused Celtics team came out today, put the clamps down on the Bulls early, and pulled out to a lead that the Bulls can never close… but I'm not expecting it. I'm expecting the Bulls to come out and be aggressive. I'm expecting them to be a little more patient offensively. And I'm expecting their jumpers to fall more consistently.
So the Celtics HAVE to come out with a purpose. They HAVE to come out early and pick up where they left off in Game 3. Paul Pierce and Rajon Rondo have to penetrate and draw fouls. Kendrick Perkins has to defend the basket without getting into foul trouble. Ray Allen has to be on the mark early.
Go up 15 in the first quarter, and maybe the Bulls will get nervous and change their game plan. Play them tight in the first quarter and Chicago will have the confidence to make this another tight one. The Celtics will dictate the pace of this game. It's something they've had a problem with in these early afternoon games. But it's something they have to do.
Herald: Rondo erases doubt | All things even to Doc | A need to C's the day | Globe: Knee injury latest painful chapter for Powe | Pierce wants to finish business on this trip | Rose seems to be fading | Souza: Current Celts forge new path | ESPN: Big Baby having big series | Chicago Daily Herald: Slowing down Rondo easier said than done | Rondo's Blog: Red Bull | Celtics Hub: Sibling Rivalry? | Josh Q Public: Why I hate Derrick Rose | As goes Rondo | AP: Rondo shrugs off criticism | Lakers up 3-1 | Dallas up 3-1 | Hornets take game 3 | Heat smoke ATL in game 3