Miami wins series 4-3 (Game 3 of 7)

Miami wins series 4-3

Game 1: Monday, May 28th
Game 2: Wednesday, May 30th
Game 3: Friday, June 1st
Game 4: Sunday, June 3rd
Game 5: Tuesday, June 5th
Game 6: Thursday, June 7th
Game 7: Saturday, June 9th

Heat 91

(46-20, 18-15 away)

Celtics 101

(39-27, 24-9 home)

    Coverage: ESPN/WatchESPN

    8:30 PM ET, June 1, 2012

    TD Garden, Boston, MA

    1 2 3 4 T
    MIA 28 14 21 2891
    BOS 30 25 30 16101

    Top Performers

    Mia: L. James 34 Pts, 8 Reb, 5 Ast, 2 Stl, 2 Blk

    Bos: R. Rondo 21 Pts, 6 Reb, 10 Ast, 1 Stl

    Kevin Garnett, Celtics win Game 3, cut Heat's series lead to 2-1

    Associated Press

    BOSTON -- Kevin Garnett was fouled underneath the basket and went hard to the court. He remained on his back, motionless, as his teammates rushed over to check on him and offer a hand.

    The Boston Celtics center ignored them, instead gingerly rolling over onto his stomach before extending his arms to ease himself off the court. Down and up he went, pushing off the floor on his knuckles eight times for some postseason pushups.

    For the first time in the Eastern Conference finals, Boston was having fun with the Miami Heat.

    "I'm getting crap about my form, but I want people to know it's because it was on my knuckles," Garnett joked in the locker room after leading Boston to a 101-91 victory over the Heat on Friday night that cut Miami's lead in the best-of-seven series to 2-1. "That's old school. My uncle taught me to do pushups on my knuckles. That's some Army-Navy stuff."

    Garnett had 24 points and 11 rebounds, Paul Pierce scored 23 points, and Rajon Rondo had 21 points with 10 assists to help the Celtics avoid falling into a 3-0 hole in the series after losing the first two games in Miami.

    Game 4 is Sunday night in Boston.

    "They defended their home court," Rondo said. "In a couple of days, we'll do the same."

    LeBron James scored 34 points, but the NBA MVP and the rest of the Heat went cold during a 7-minute stretch at the end of the first quarter and the beginning of the second, when Boston outscored them 15-0 to turn a six-point deficit into a nine-point lead.

    The Celtics extended it to 24 points early in the fourth quarter before Miami came back and cut it to 95-87 with help from three 3-pointers by Mike Miller. But James had a turnover and missed a 3-pointer in the last 2 minutes to squelch the Heat's hope of a comeback.

    "You're trying to fight back the whole time," said James, who scored 16 points in the first quarter but just four with one rebound and one assist in the fourth. "We made a run but it was too much."

    Miami still trailed by eight points with the ball when Dwyane Wade missed and Ray Allen grabbed the rebound, sending Rondo on a fast break that made it 99-89 with 99 seconds to play. James threw the ball away underneath, then missed a 3-point attempt the next time down -- one of only four shots he took in the fourth quarter.

    Pierce found Garnett for a long jumper at the other end, and the teams began emptying their benches.

    Coming off his 44-point effort in the Game 2 loss in Miami, in which he played every second of regulation and overtime, Rondo was 9-for-16 from the field and grabbed six rebounds. Celtics coach Doc Rivers said he had little to tell Rondo on the day off.

    "I'm like a pitcher throwing a no-hitter: You stay away from that joker," Rivers said. "The guy scored 44 points; what can I possibly tell him?"

    Mostly: Get the ball to Garnett.

    Many of Garnett's baskets were lobbed to him under the rim. Boston outscored Miami 58-46 on points in the paint, and Garnett was the reason why.

    "He (Rivers) kept preaching to just throw it up to him," Rondo said. "They went small, and no one can jump as high as Kevin. He stood up to the rim, and he went up and got most of them."

    Marquis Daniels led the Boston bench with nine points and five rebounds in 18 minutes.

    Wade scored 18 points, and Mario Chalmers had 14 points and six assists for Miami. Shane Battier was scoreless, missing all six shots, and Ronny Turiaf had three points while tangling with Garnett under the basket for much of the game.

    The Celtics center, who has appeared rejuvenated during these playoffs at the age of 36, got called for another technical foul for a violent elbow but otherwise seemed to be enjoying himself. While waiting to inbound the ball in the second quarter, he high-fived a child sitting courtside in a No. 5 Celtics jersey.

    At the other end, after being slammed hard to the court by Udonis Haslem, he did a series of crowd-pleasing pushups.

    "KG plays a lot of mental games with himself -- and with others," Celtics guard Keyon Dooling said. "KG is a very focused individual, and he loves these kind of moments."

    Wade was 9-for-20 from the field and did not shoot a free throw in the game. James, who shot 24 free throws in Game 2, making 18, was 1-for-5 from the line.

    James hit seven of his first nine shots, before making one of the next six. That helped Boston score the last eight points of the first quarter and the first seven of the second to turn a six-point deficit into a nine-point lead. Much of it came with Dooling and Daniels on the court for Boston.

    Game notes

    During the first timeout, the Celtics acknowledged Boston Globe columnist Bob Ryan, who is retiring this summer. GM Danny Ainge was one of the first to stand and applaud. ... K.C. Jones, who was celebrating his 80th birthday, and fellow Celtics great John Havlicek were in the crowd. ... Miami was 10-for-20 from the free throw line.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


    Team Stat Comparison

    Points 91 101
    FGM-FGA 38-77 (.494) 38-76 (.500)
    3PM-3PA 5-17 (.294) 5-17 (.294)
    FTM-FTA 10-20 (.500) 20-26 (.769)
    Rebounds (Offensive-Total) 6-32 12-44
    Assists 20 16
    Turnovers 11 12
    Steals 5 4
    Blocks 5 4
    Fast Break Points 16 13
    Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 24 (0/0) 24 (2/0)
    Largest Lead 6 24

    Top Performers

    LeBron James James
    Points: 34
    Reb: 8
    Ast: 5
    Stl: 2
    Blk: 2
    Rajon Rondo Rondo
    Points: 21
    Reb: 6
    Ast: 10
    Stl: 1
    Blk: 0

    Research Notes

    Rajon Rondo recorded his 12th 10-plus assist game of this postseason, which is a career best for him in a single postseason. It's the fifth-most 10-plus assist games in a single postseason over the last 25 years.
    Kevin Garnett showed his value in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Finals. In the 34 minutes he was on the court, the Celtics outscored the Heat by 27 points. In the 14 minutes Garnett was off the court, Miami went 16-19 from the field and outscored Boston by 17 points.
    From Elias: LeBron James has recorded at least 30 points and 8 rebounds in each of the first three games of the Eastern Conference Finals. He becomes just the fifth player in NBA history to accomplish that feat in a Conference Finals. Note that the Conference Finals were known as the Division Finals through the 1969-70 season (this list includes the Division Finals).
    LeBron James totaled 34 points on 16-26 shooting in 43 minutes of action in Game 3. The rest of Miami's starters combined to score just one more point than James while going 15-38 from the field.
    The Celtics were averaging just 32 paint points per contest through the first two games of the Eastern Conference Finals and just 42 percent of their total field goal attempts came in the painted area. That changed in Game 3 as the Celtics outscored the Heat 58-46 and 44 of their 76 attempts came in the paint.
    The Heat went to a smaller lineup at the start of the fourth quarter in Game 3, with LeBron James playing the center position. The lineup of James, Dwyane Wade, Mario Chalmers, Mike Miller and Shane Battier shot 61.1 percent from the field and outscored the Celtics by 12 when they were on the floor. Despite not completing the comeback, the five-man unit that played the majority of the fourth quarter was Miami's most effective in Game 3.
    Dwyane Wade was averaging 7.7 free throw attempts in the playoffs through 13 games entering Game 3...he attempted 0 in Game 3.
    Kevin Garnett scored a team-high 24 points for the Celtics in Game 3 and scored 14 of his points from inside 5 feet. In the first two games of the series Garnett was 5-of-10 (50.0 percent) from inside 5 feet but made 7 of his 11 shots (63.6 percent) from that distance on Friday.
    The Celtics' 58 points in the paint are their most in any game this season (reg. season and playoffs) and their most in the playoffs since 2008. Boston is 7-3 since the start of the 2009 postseason when it scores at least 50 points in the paint.
    The Celtics outscored the Heat 58 to 46 in the paint in Game 3 and were more effective inside than in the first two games of the series. Boston's 58 points in the paint are its most in a playoff game since May 4, 2008 against the Hawks when the Celtics scored 60 paint points in their 99-65 Game 7 win.

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