Mind Games: Calm Heat regroup, prepare for Game 4
|06.02.12 at 11:25 am ET|
Following their loss in Game 3, the Heat locker room was best described as composed. LeBron James and Dwyane Wade were playfully berating rookie Norris Cole and from across the room, injured All-Star Chris Bosh is conversing with James Jones, while Shane Battier is icing his knees, waiting to hold court with the media. The Heat aren’t okay with the defeat, but by no means do they appear worried, either.
Remember, this is a team that dealt with a 2-1 series deficit against the frisky Pacers in the second round. A team that was in this very situation against these Celtics last year before winning the next two games and ending Boston’s season. Dropping a game on the road doesn’t phase the Heat, especially since they cut a 24-point third quarter deficit to just eight by midway through the fourth quarter.
“[The Celtics] won Game 3,” Mario Chalmers said. “That’s all that happened. We’re still up 2-1, we have to get ready for Game 4. [The comeback attempt] was very important. We showed we’re not going away. We’re going to keep fighting all the way to the end no matter what the outcome is.”
“There’s really no pressure,” Udonis Haslem said. “We’ll get some rest tonight. Tomorrow we’ll wake up, go over film, make our adjustments and come out and play.”
Across the hall, Kevin Garnett is finishing treatment. The Big Ticket just recorded his 11th double-double of this postseason, scoring 24 points (10-of-16 shooting) and grabbing 11 boards. And he managed to antagonize the Heat in the process.
In the second quarter after he was fouled hard by Haslem, KG laid on his back for brief moment while the Garden faithful held its collective breath. In one sweeping motion, rolled over and began doing a set of knuckle down push ups. Later, in the four quarter, Garnett picked up a technical for elbowing Chalmers as the two fought for a rebound. Now, though, Garnett is preaching about needing the best out of all his teammates. He uses the word “desperation” seven times in a three-minute period.
“Everything he does makes me want to run through a wall,” Keyon Dooling said of Garnett’s inspiring play and antics on the court.
Meanwhile, Garnett’s menacing behavior makes his adversaries — Chalmers and Haslem — want to put their head through a wall in frustration.
“That’s KG,” Chalmers said. “I’m not worried about KG. He’s going to do that every game. That’s his game. We have to stick to our plan, not worry about him, not let him get into our heads — which he didn’t — and we got to keep playing.”
Said Haslem: “I don’t pay much attention to it. The game is played between the lines: Not with the elbows, not with the talking, not with the refs. You still have to throw the ball up, you still have to rebound, and you still have to play the game.”
People begin to file out of the Heat’s locker room as James and Wade prepare to take the podium. Battier is almost through with interviews, but before it’s over, he says what the rest of the Heat are undoubtedly thinking.
“Pressure isn’t applicable here,” Battier said. “This is a very good Boston team and we have to play well to beat them. “It’s a series now. They have hope.”