Updated: May 23
ITS ALL BOUT THE D
The third game of the NBA Eastern Conference finals went down in Boston. Again it was a story about defense and injuries. Just ask any Celtic fan and they'll groan about it. I've said from the beginning that these playoffs featured high-scoring offenses and the team that will win the NBA championship will do it with championship-caliber "D".
The 2022 NBA champions will posses a defense that shuts down or slows down the opponent when it matters most. That's what happened in game three when the Heat shut down the Celtics when it mattered most.
The Miami Heat not only caught fire in the second half, but forced big turnovers to win the home court advantage in MIami. It was a reversal from game two where the Celtics showed a more aggressive defense that resulted in a win. The Heat had an answer for the Celtics.
STRUS BRINGS THE JUICE
And then there's the big time 3-point shooting of Max Strus that caught the Celtics by surprise. Strus lifted the Heat with dazzling three-pointers in the clutch and has consistently showed that he's a threat when the game gets tight. When Heat star Jimmy Butler got hurt and was slowed down on offense. Strus put on his cape and went to work.
Throughout the contest, the Heat displayed a pesky defense that was stifling, and physical. To make matters worse for the Celtics, Jason Tatum went down with an injury when the team needed him the most.
BAM BRINGING THE FUNK
Meanwhile Bam Adebayo was totally unstoppable and he was on the attack all game long. It was indeed a long night under the basket for the Celtics as they tried unsuccessfully to stop the the big Miami Heat center. More activer than in the previous playoff games, Adebayo showcased his offensive skills with an array of attack moves. He hit the Celtics with spin moves, short range jumpers. bank shots, layups and the occasional hard drive to the bucket. The Celtics had no amswer in the middle and he finished with 31 points.
The Celtics looked tired and worn out by the middle of the fourth quarter and that made life much sweeter for Adebayo in the middle. The Heat clogged up the middle and disrupted the Celtics passing lanes creating quick turnovers.
THE TATUM EFFECT
Tatum is the focus for Boston and their chances for winnng this series. He's playing hurt and having to pull a lot of weight. On the other hand, the Celtics have shown that they have players ready to step in with potent offense and hustle. For Miami too repeat and win again, they will have to continue to be aggressive and physical while exposing the Celticv vulnerable interior. Although the Boston Celtics our favored by the Las Vegas bookies, it is the Heat that has the upper hand going into game four im Miami.