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NBA PLAYOFFS Game #3: Boston Celtics (2-0) vs. Miami Heat (0-2)

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I'm going to keep this short and sweet because there really isn't much to get into that we don't already know.  The bottom line is that the Heat desperately need to win both of their home games and judging by the way they have looked in the first two games of the series, we might be better off sending the Heat dancers out to play the Celtics.

The key to the Heat getting back into the series comes down to two guys: Jermaine O'Neal and Udonis Haslem.  When Miami was playing so well it was due to those two individuals playing like animals.  Granted, this is all assuming that D-Wade and co. keep doing what they do, but with the way that J-O and U-D have been lagging in the post season is killing the Heat. 

Speaking about Udonis, I'm willing to bet that it has more to do with the physical, suffocating defense of the Celtics then it does him struggling from a personal standpoint.  With Jermaine, I'm quite confident that his late-season injury allowed a decent amount of rust to consume him because judging by his inaccurate jumpers and heightened level of rebounding and defense, he's clinging quite tightly to his instinctive talents.

Unfortunately for Miami, his offensive game is a giant fraction of their low-post offense.  Without any presence in the paint, Boston has been able to completely shut down the Heat's scoring and unless they shoot around 70% in Game 3, they better get something going down low otherwise this series is going to be as ugly as their opening round sweep back in 2007. 

On the green and white side of things, the Celtics will welcome back Kevin Garnett for Game 3 after his 1-game suspension.  I fully expect the 19,000+ they are expecting at the AAA to boo the crap out of him.  I'd also like to boo-ing to be directed at Rajon Rondo, who told reporters earlier this week that he plans to win both games in Miami and end the series in 4.  For teams that don't really play each other much or have much of a history...there sure is a lack of that ‘mutual respect' you hear so much about athletes having for one another. 

GAME NOTES

  • Boston has won 13 of the last 14 meetings between the two teams, including all 5 this season (3 regular season, 2 playoffs).
  • Miami has won 10 straight Playoff games in which they shoot 50% or better from the field.
  • They have also gone 11-0 in home Playoff games that Dwyane Wade scores at least 30 points. 
  • Heat guard Kenny Hasbrouck has been asked to stay away from the team while they look into a report that he was charged with  ‘aggravated driving while intoxicated' back on February 5th.  For more info on this, click here
  • Rasheed Wallace was fined $35,000 by the NBA for comments he made about the referees favoring Dwyane Wade.  Does this guy try to be a douche, or does it just come naturally?
  • Boston comes to Miami a confident road team.  They are the only team in the Playoffs that won more games on the road (26) then at home (24) during the regular season. 
  • Jermaine O'Neal is shooting just 4-of-24 in the series, but he has collected 14 rebounds and 7 blocked shots. 
  • More troubling to me is that Udonis Haslem has just 4 rebounds in each of the two games. 
  • On a more positive note, Dwyane Wade is shooting 61% from the field (22-for-36) for the series and hit 5-of-8 from beyond the arc during Game 2.  He has 11 assists in the 2 games, which is impressive considering how poorly his teammates are shooting the ball. 

For those of you heading to the game, get there early so you can get a free t-shirt and noisemaker.  Tipoff from the AAA is set for 7.  Let's just hope that the Heat can figure out how to reverse whatever they have done for the last 6+ quarters, otherwise this series won't end fast enough.  Lets go Heat!!!