Quantcast 2011 NBA Eastern Conference Playoffs: Semifinals - Miami vs Boston

 

2011 NBA Playoffs Eastern Conference Semifinals

Eastern Conference Semifinal Game 3 - Boston 97, Miami 81 – Heat lead series, 2-1

 

Sportswriters often use the phrase “heart of a champion” when penning stories about an individual player overcoming odds to succeed. The phrase is as overused as it is common. Still, no greater meme can truly cast the performance of Boston point guard Rajon Rondo and his Boston Celtic teammates in a better light. Rondo, who went down with what looked like a season-ending arm injury in the third quarter, returned in the final stanza to push his squad to a Game 3 victory over the Miami Heat.

With only three usable extremities, Rondo capped a terrific Boston second half to get his team back in this series. Trailing by two points at the halftime break, the Celtics exploded with 14 of the first 16 points of the third quarter, capped by a Kevin Garnett hook shot with 7:24 remaining. Garnett, who had struggled mightily in Games 1 and 2, looked renewed and refreshed. The Celtics were quite glad to have him back at full service. Garnett scored 28 points and grabbed 18 rebounds, dominating the ballgame at both ends of the floor.

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It wasn’t just Garnett and Rondo who led the charge; veteran Paul Pierce hit five 3-pointers to spur the Boston run at the start of the second half. Pierce finished with 27 points on the evening. Boston used runs at the beginning of each half to set the pace of the contest.

After falling behind 23-13 in the first quarter, the Heat were finally able to weather the first storm of the evening (they just didn’t endure Boston’s later surges). Miami finally took a 36-34 lead after a Mario Chalmers’ three-pointer with 6:13 left in the second quarter. The Heat grabbed their biggest lead of the night just under two minutes later after a LeBron James basket that gave Miami a 40-34 advantage. In the end, the Heat were unable to withstand the third quarter onslaught from the Celtics, never cutting the Boston lead to single digits in the final stanza. Dwayne Wade and LeBron struggled from the field all night. Chris Bosh was non-existent, making just one shot attempt in six chances. Chalmers was the lone bright spot, scoring 17 points on 7-of-9 shooting.

 

 

The Game 3 story belongs to Rondo. For the breathless period of time between his initial injury and his return, the Boston team and its fans wondered if this series had just ended prematurely with the All-Star guard’s injury. Using just one arm, Rondo scored four fourth-quarter points, including a breakaway dunk with 8:30 to play. For an organization with a considerable amount of history and legend, Saturday night in Boston will go down as a night when the members of a proud franchise fought back yet again.

 

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By: Zach Bloxham
Pro Basketball Fans Staff Writer


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