Recap: Rondo saves Celtics from epic collapse | Red's Army - The Voice of Boston Celtics Fans
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Recap: Rondo saves Celtics from epic collapse

There are two guarantees with the Celtics. They'll play tough and gritty. And nothing ever comes easy. We witnessed both in tonight's 101-91 victory in Game 3.

Rajon Rondo scored 8 of his 21 points in the 4th quarter as the Heat slowly whittled away a 24-point deficit. Knowing the Heat are going to make a run doesn't make it any easier on my heart. But thanks to Rondo's big buckets, the Heat could never get closer than 8.

Miami made its run with a super small line-up that featured LeBron James at center. Mike Miller nailed 3 threes in the quarter. But my beef was with the Celtics offense. It went stagnant and I'm going to put a lot of blame on Paul Pierce (23 points, 7-21 FG). He was 1-3 FG with 2 awful TOs. 

The Celtics really worked Garnett (24 points, 10-16 FG, 11 rebounds, +27) in the paint. The Heat simply have no answer for him. Except for the 20-footer that sealed the game late in the 4th, all of KG's shots came from within 15 feet. 

Marquis Daniels (9 points, 5 rebounds) and Keyon Dooling (7 points, 4 rebounds) brought tremendous energy and production off the bench in the 2nd quarter. 

The officiating was decent tonight (and by decent I mean, the whistle was blown when guys in white and green were raked across the head). While some bloggers will try to claim the officiating went in Boston's favor tonight, each team was whistled for 24 fouls. I didn't like the dead ball technical on Garnett for the phantom elbow. 

Brandon Bass (4 points, 5 fouls in 17 minutes) was out-of-sync all night. Not sure if you can really blame him for the foul trouble, because he shouldn't be covering Shane Battier.

The Celtics outrebounded Miami 52-30 44-32 (12-6 offensive). 

Box score

Video of KG's push-up routine, after the jump.

Videos courtesy Jose3030

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  • RyanH

    Rondo is the reason we’re still playing. He’s becoming the closer (?!?!) with his ability to dismantle teams with his slashing. I felt like Pierce almost got us in trouble with the Iso show in the 4th, but KG and Rondo finished it. Also, huge shoutout to Quisy. The guy’s gone through a ton since he signed with us in 09, and he came up huge. Respect.

  • CoachBo

    Good recap. I was extremely frustrated with how we quit defending in the first half of the fourth quarter. Inexcusable, and we deserved the scare.
    Thought Rondo played better tonight than Wednesday night, and had a more positive impact on all aspects of the game. His distribution of the basketball was epic all night – Miami had no idea where he was going with the basketball.

  • Erin

    Pierce should not be handling the ball in iso situations. Quisy seems to be the only one other than Pierce who can catch RR’s passes and finish.

  • CoachBo

    Forgot Daniels. Big ups to him. Should have played in the fourth quarter.

  • take THAT, you stinkin miami punks!

  • JR99

    Refs made a reasonable/inevitable number of mistakes tonight, but evenly. Fair officiating leads to a Celtics win. Just like that.

  • I thought Keyon Dooling played great too…..his defensive energy is the closest thing we have to Avery, and it was contagious tonite. Quisy certainly earned some time in the next game, he was smooth on both ends. In the end though, Rondo once again showed everyone what a uniquely amazing game he has. Props to Ray for fighting through the injury and playing a solid game. Go C’s!

  • jadams5214

    Amazing that Doc decides to use his bench and Marquis comes in and plays a KEY role in tonight’s victory. He played solid defense, grabbed rebounds and finished in the lane for a few huge baskets. Hopefully Doc realizes that he needs to change things up more often instead of being so stubborn. Dooling also provided a nice spark on both ends.
    If Pietrus keeps contributing zero offensively then he might wind up behind Marquis and Keyon for Game 4. Bass was terrible defensively by committing cheap fouls and not getting back in transition.
    Rondo was dynamic again and controlled the game. Ray moved well and appears to have finally adjusted his shot to compensate for his ankle issues. Very concerned with the 4th quarter as Boston should have had the starters resting but had to work to hang on.
    Pierce started resorted to his “hero ball” play and made terrible turnovers out of the double team. Spoelstra made an adjustment by going small and Boston panicked. Offensively they kept forcing it inside even through double teams. Defensively was a total mess as Miami spread the floor while the Celtics failed to rotate to the perimeter leaving Mike Miller easy shots from 3.
    Hopefully that 4th quarter was just a blip and Doc will adjust to it the next time Miami tries that move.
    Great win and now the C’s have a day off without travel. Game 4 is just as important to tie this series and force Miami to get nervous…

  • Marquis Daniels the unsung hero. As Pietrus was a non-factor again, someone needed to provide some spark off the bench and Quis was that guy. Can’t express how good it is to see him contribute after all he’s been through. I also love how Ray has continued to rebound. 5 more for him tonight and a few big ones during Miami’s 4th quarter run. Big props to all the fans at the Garden tonight. I was worried that folks would be discouraged after the OT loss, but not so. That building was freaking electric from tip-off til the end. Hope to be back there on Sunday to do it again.

  • Not to be particular but the rebounds were BOS-44 MIA-32, but still it seems like there is never a game where we out-rebound our opponent (especially by 12)!!

  • classless

    Another huge step forward for Rondo, another step back for Pierce. That’s 3 crappy games in a row for him.
    Let’s not get too excited. This series has held serve so far. Tonight’s win just makes game 2’s loss all the more painful. Game 4 should be a war.

  • Winston Salems

    23 points on 7 for 21 shooting isn’t encouraging but the C’s were a +10 when he was on the floor. He played a lot of minutes, didn’t get into foul trouble, was 7 for 7 at the FT line and 2 for 6 shooting beyond the arc. It wasn’t his best game but I wouldn’t say he had an off game either. He’s not 25 anymore. If he continues to score over 20 points, the C’s have a good chance at winning the game. Unfortunately, other than Rondo, Pierce is the only other ball handler on the first unit. Miami knows he struggles at times and they trap him. He still needs to dribble the ball up from time to time to get him into a rhythm. C’s got the calls tonight that they weren’t getting in the first two games. If they can continue to attack the Heat with KG in the post, the C’s will put themselves in position to win game 4.

  • Really?? How’d KG do?

  • Caterpillar from Italy

    When we lost game 6 against Philly, I was blaming Rondo not to be able to take his game on another level of consistency when needed. He definitely listened to me! 😉
    He’s playing out of his mind, he’s carrying the C’s like I hope he will do in the next 5 years.

  • Kricky

    Should have gone with Quise in the 4th instead of playing Pietrus, who played some pretty horrible defense during that Heat run.
    Other than that, a superb effort. Especially by RR who is really taking it to another level and becoming the kind of player we can build a team around.

  • paul

    Rondo needs to pick up his defense. Also, the 4th quarter surge by the Heat was Rondo’s fault. He started trying to kill clock with ten minutes left in the game. That was crazy.

  • paul

    About Wednesday’s game: that was a brilliant game by Rondo, and it helped set up what we and he did last night. Psychologically, we needed someone to punch through the seemingly impenetrable wall of athletic domination by the Heat. Rondo did that. Strategically, we needed to establish Rondo as an offensive threat so that his passing could be more effective, so that he could run the offense more effectively. Really effective passing depends on planting a seed of doubt in the opponent’s mind. Anxiety. Pushing them into a mode that is a little more passive, reactive. Misdirection and distraction are the passer’s friends, and they need a bit of confusion in the atmosphere to thrive.

  • paul

    Dooling does a great Bradley!!!
    Ray is doing his best, and with his savvy, it’s a lot.

  • paul

    Pierce did also make some brilliant passes.

  • paul

    Pierce attacked the basket, drew fouls, made some brilliant passes and covered Lebron. I would like to have seen more rebounds and less bad passes when confusion sets in. He can play better, but he did a lot too.

  • Quest

    Agree sit Pietrus and play Quis. Quis out shone both Bass and MP. Now think where the c’s would be if we had better role players. KG and Rondo are the ones who are holding this team together. Hope they can out last the Heat in a 7 game series.

  • Reggie35RIP

    B E L I E V E !

  • My bad. Thanks for the correction.

  • The genius of Red Auerbach was his ability to read his players. Russell was Russell and needed to be out on the court as much as possible. Heinsohn, on the other hand, was a shooting machine. He always got minutes but, if he was cold, Red would sit him and try someone else. Marquis has earned more time. He succeeded by playing within himself and looking for the slashes and cuts that he’s good at and Miami wasn’t looking for. He and Keyon brought great defensive intensity. But Pietrus and Bass can still have their moments. You just don’t put people in the permanent doghouse. Bill Fitch was the king of that and got fired for it. Read what your players show you. They have unique talents. Many, like Marquis, Pietrus and Bass just show them more when they get to show them without the focus being on them. It will require Doc to listen to his inner Red and not his inner Fitch.

  • I am eccstatic that Doc decided to finally go deeper into his bench than “Peaches” and Dooling (though Keyon has been great for us in the past two games) and rediscovered Marquis. I would also love to see a little more Sasha a little earlier than garbage time. He’s played with LeBron back in Cleveland, has a solid body with size and he can hit the open 3 most nights, so if Peaches continues his Mikki Moore impression on defense, it might be time to scale back his minutes and see what Sasha can do. Three minutes…if he isn’t rolling, sit him back down again.
    Ultimately, I really believe that the C’s can beat the Heat with sustained defensive energy and executing the passing game at all times (not just to get a lead and then revert to “hero ball, as others have pointed out) not just for the next game, but for the series. Then again, it may be a foregone conclusion that the C’s win this series:

  • wil

    was praying doc would sub Quis for Ray, we needed defense, thats where the offense starts.