Eastern Conference Semifinals Game 3: Miami Heat (2-0) vs. Boston Celtics (0-2)

MIAMI, FL - MAY 03: Miami Heat mascot Burnie waves the American Flag during Game Two of the Eastern Conference Semifinals of the 2011 NBA Playoffs against the Boston Celtics at American Airlines Arena on May 3, 2011 in Miami, Florida. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

After a very successful first couple of games for the Miami Heat, they will take their talents on the road to Boston for Games 3 and 4 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals.  We all hope a successful road trip begins on Saturday night when the Celtics host Miami at the TD Garden.  At the moment things certainly look good from a Heat perspective, but Erik Spoelstra and his clan are well aware that they need to keep their foot on the gas in order to keep things heading in the right direction.

A lot of attention this week from the Celtics side of things have been about Shaquille O'Neal being back in the lineup for Game 3.  This will obviously help the Celtics in a way that they have needed it and that is on the defensive end.  When Miami is able to roam around offensively in and out of the paint, that is when they are at their best.  It enables them to open up the floor for their dynamic scorers and draw defenders out of position, which allows their 3-point shooters to get all those open looks they love so much.

One thing that having Shaq on the floor will do for Boston is it will keep Joel Anthony on the bench.  The Heat will likely put out Erick Dampier and maybe even Jamaal Magloire to deal with Shaq when he is on the floor, but Anthony is just too small to handle the bigger O'Neal, who outweighs him by close to 100lbs.  However, since Shaq is towards the end of his career and is much slower and less productive now then he was a few years ago, it's likely that Doc Rivers will only have him out there between 10-15 minutes.

GAME NOTES

  • Shaquille O'Neal has played a total of 5 minuets 29 seconds since February 1st
  • In their history, the Heat has gone 7-0 in playoff series that they win the first two games.
  • Boston has lost the first two games of a playoff series 11 times and are 1-10 in those situations.
  • Including last years playoffs, Miami has lost 10 consecutive games at the TD Garden. 
  • Chris Bosh has collected 9 career playoff double doubles, 4 of which have come this season. 
  • Since the Celtics Big 3 came to Boston they are 29-7 in the playoffs.
  • Udonis Haslem (foot) is still listed as doubtful.
  • Boston's injury report has Shaquille O'Neal (calf) questionable and Paul Pierce (Achilles) probable. 

Tipoff from the TD Garden is set for 8pm.  The game will be televised nationally on ABC.  The Heat will host a "Road Rally" viewing party at Bokamper's Sports Bar & Grill, 1280 Pine Island Road in Plantation. 

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