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Third Quarter Wrap: Celtics – Heat

04.25.10 at 3:06 pm ET
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The Celtics could be 12 minutes away from advancing to the second round of the playoffs.

The C’s outscored the Heat, 30-19, in the third quarter to take a 77-71 lead heading into the fourth quarter. Ray Allen tied the game 62-62 with a 3-pointer and Rajon Rondo gave the Celtics their first lead since 2-0 with a layin on the following possession. Rondo (20 points) scored 11 in the third quarter alone.

Dwyane Wade scored 11 points in the third (he leads all players with 27), but the rest of his team only chipped in 11 combined.

The Celtics are 2-0 in this series when leading after three quarters.

Second Quarter Wrap: Celtics – Heat

04.25.10 at 2:24 pm ET
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The Celtics bounced back from a first quarter deficit with an 18-4 run to outscore the Heat, 25-18, in the second. They trail 49-43 at halftime.

Kevin Garnett leads the Celtics with 10 points; Rajon Rondo scored nine. Ray Allen and Paul Pierce were limited with three fouls apiece and combined for just 10 points. Dwyane Wade only scored two points in the second quarter but continues to lead all players with 16.

After committing nine turnovers in the first quarter, the Celtics committed just three in the second. Both teams have grabbed 19 rebounds.

The Celtics are 2-0 in this series when trailing at halftime.

First Quarter Wrap: Celtics – Heat

04.25.10 at 1:36 pm ET
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The Celtics committed nine turnovers and turned the first quarter over to the Heat. They trail 18-31 after 12 minutes.

The Heat scored 16 points off of Celtics turnovers, the C’s first quarter total until Rajon Rondo scored a layup as time expired. Kevin Garnett hit the first basket of the game before the Heat went on a 10-0 run. Later in the quarter, they went on another 14-0 run.

Dwyane Wade and Quentin Richardson combined for 27 points as the Heat shot 56.5 percent from the field. Paul Pierce led the Celtics with six points.

Rebounding is key for Celtics

04.25.10 at 12:55 pm ET
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MIAMI — If there has been one change from the regular season Celtics to the playoff Celtics it has been their improvement on the glass. The Celtics dominated the Heat in Game 2 on the boards, and while they backslid in the first half of Game 3, their second half rebounding was a big key in getting the win.

“Going into the playoffs you would say the one point of emphasis over everything has been rebounding,” Doc Rivers said. “It’€™s all we talk about. We showed rebounding on film yesterday. It’€™s been very important to us.”

The Celtics have also done better on the offensive glass, an area where they struggled this season and for good reason. It’s not part of their gameplan.

“We don’€™t focus hard on offeneive rebounds,” Rivers said. “If you’€™re under there and you can get it, then you get it. Honestly, we’€™d rather for you to get back on defense so they can’€™t score in transition. The fact that were’€™re getting them is good. Numbers suggest that if you take away transition baskets you’€™ll save more points than you will get by rtying to get offensive rebounds.”

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Heat coach: Wade is going to go

04.25.10 at 11:31 am ET
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MIAMI — Not that there was much mystery, but Miami coach Erik Spoelstra indicated that Dwyane Wade is good to go for Game 4. Wade suffered painful crams in his left leg at the end of Game 3 and was not on the floor for Paul Pierce’s buzzer beater.

“He’s going to go,” Spoelstra said. “I don’t know if he’s 100 percent, but he feels much better. He’s been cleared. I know one thing. He was not going to miss a minute of this game.”

Spoelstra was asked if he would have to limit Wade’s minutes and he laughed.

“We’ll try to be smart with it, but you try to pace him,” he said. “I’m sure if I try to take him out of the game he’ll be spitting expletives at me.”

Spoelstra also addressed his team’s mindset heading into a possible elimination game. The Heat have played the Celtics six times this season (counting the regular season) and have lost all six. But there is hope in the fact that they have had the lead in five of those games in the fourth quarter.

“At some point there has to be a breakthrough,” Spoelstra said. “This is not about the other games. This is about today.”

Read More: Dwyane Wade, Heat,

Rivers on Rondo: He’s been our Varitek

04.24.10 at 5:13 pm ET
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MIAMI — Lost in the dramatics of Paul Pierce’s game-winner, Ray Allen’s Game 2 explosion and even Tony Allen’s brilliant defense on Dwyane Wade in Game 1 has been the stellar play of Rajon Rondo.

Through three games Rondo has averaged just 11.7 points, but that never tells the full story with him. He’s also getting 10 assists a nights and 6.3 rebounds, but again, numbers can’t define Rondo.

Rather, it’s been his ability to run the offense for over 40 minutes a night that has been the catalyst for the Celtics offensive execution.

“He’€™s been terrific,” Doc Rivers said. “When everyone was injured, literally, Rondo had to do a lot of scoring. But since Ray and Paul and Kevin [Garnett] are back and in rhythm, he’€™s more of the facilitator. But he does the best job of a guy you could ask to do it. He’€™s been huge in this series.”

Take the closing minute of Game 3. On the possession before Pierce’s jumper, Rondo had two options at his disposal: Allen coming off a flare screen with Garnett, or Pierce on the opposite side. He chose Allen for a corner 3 and it was a great look, it just didn’t go in.

Heat coach Erik Spolestra had some media people shaking their heads after Game 3 when he said that the reason the Celtics were so tough to defend is because they have so many crunch-time options. In other words, didn’t he know the final play was going to Pierce? Well, no. He didn’t. See the previous possession.

It’s that decision-making that has lifted Rondo’s game into the upper stratosphere of elite point guards.

“He’€™s light years [ahead of where he was], but a lot of that is just age, maturity,” Rivers said. “The other part of it is system. He’€™s been in the same system his entire career. I thought Game 3 was the best play-calling game in his career. He was like [Jason] Varitek as far as calling the right pitch. He was phenomenal. That’€™s where he’€™s improved. He know what I’€™m thinking. He’€™ll call a play and you can sit down and it’€™s terrific.”

Read More: Jason Varitek, Rajon Rondo,

Pierce: It’s a must win

04.24.10 at 4:58 pm ET
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MIAMI — The Celtics elected not to hold practice Saturday afternoon after taking Game 3 from Miami on a dramatic buzzer-beater by Paul Pierce to take a 3-0 lead in their series, but don’t mistake that for over-confidence.

“I’€™m looking at it like it’€™s a 3-3 tie,” Pierce said. “It’€™s a must game for us. We want to be desperate for this win. We don’€™t want them coming back to Boston with any kind of confidence. You never know what can happen in this league. They’€™ve got a great player in [Dwyane] Wade and a team that played well down the stretch”

Ray Allen equated it to running a marathon.

“You don’€™t win anything if you get four in the first round,” he said. “Winning three games doesn’€™t mean anything either. You can’€™t go around and be fuzzy because you’€™ve won a couple of game. We have to make sure that we follow through because it is a process. It’€™s like running a marathon. You’€™re not done until you cross the finish line. So we have a finish line and we have to cross it.”

Kevin Garnett was asked if winning this series would give the Celtics some momentum going forward. Predictably, he did not bite.

“At this point right now, man, we’€™re focused on the Heat,” Garnett said. “We’€™re not looking past this game. I’€™m not even going to indulge in any of that conversation. The focus right now is trying to win this game in Miami.”

Read More: Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, Ray Allen,
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