Boston had a 22 point lead coming into the fourth quarter . Then the Celtics started working the shot clock down on nearly every possession. That led to bad attempts by guys that were covered. Eventually the Heat cut the lead to just eight points, but fortunately they were not able to get any closer.
In my opinion things like this shouldn't happen in a playoff game, especially when you are already down 2-0 in the series. The Celtics should have stayed on the gas and kept the rout going. Instead they tried to milk the clock way too early in the ballgame.
There were some great signs from Game 3. Kevin Garnett played great collecting a team high 24 points. Paul Pierce shot only 33 percent from the field, but had 23 points. Rajon Rondo had a better game than his statistics would tell you with 10 assists and 21 points. Even Marquis Daniels got into the act with nine points.
The best thing is the way the Celtics rebounded after an excruciating loss in Game 2. Some of the talking heads believed the Celtics wouldn't be able to get up off the deck after that defeat. Of course now the Celtics need to also take Game 4 on Sunday and even the series.
The last two games have proven that the Celtics can hang with the Heat. People can keep calling them old, but they have shown that they are a worthy adversary. They just can't let what happened on Friday night happen again. When you let up in the regular season it often doesn't matter much, but in the playoffs it can come back to bite you in the butt. They should have learned this lesson earlier when they allowed the Philadelphia 76ers to steal Game 4 of the Eastern Conference semi finals after leading by 15 points. Hopefully Game 3 against the Heat taught the Celtics this lesson for good this time.
Darren Pare has been a Boston Celtics fan for over 25 years. He grew up spoiled by the likes of Larry Bird, Kevin McHale and Robert Parish, but then lived through the Antoine Walker years. You can follow him on Twitter at dpare71.
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