Miami Heat at Boston Celtics (-2, 180)
THE STORY: The scene shifts to Boston and the Celtics find themselves in a must-win situation in Friday’s Game 3 of the Eastern Conference finals against the Miami Heat. Boston point guard Rajon Rondo had a game for the ages in Game 2 but the Heat rallied from a 15-point deficit and prevailed in overtime to take a 2-0 lead in the best-of-7 series. The Celtics haven’t recovered from such a playoff hole to win a series since 1969.
TV: 8:30 p.m. ET, ESPN
ABOUT THE HEAT: Forward LeBron James had 34 points and 10 rebounds but solid production from guard Mario Chalmers (22 points) and forward Udonis Haslem (13 points, 11 rebounds) were key components in Game 2. Guard Dwyane Wade recovered from a miserable start to score 23 points and is the first player with 20 points in 12 consecutive playoff games since legend Jerry West had 18 straight such performances for the Los Angeles Lakers in the late 1960s. Forward Chris Bosh (abdominal strain) hasn’t made enough progress to have a chance at playing in the two games in Boston.
ABOUT THE CELTICS: Rondo played all 53 minutes of Wednesday’s overtime contest and scored a career-high 44 points – including all 12 Boston points in overtime – to go with 10 assists and eight rebounds. He hit 16 of 24 shots as he became the first player in Celtics’ history to record 40 points and 10 assists in a playoff game. The concern for Game 3 will be how much Boston has in the tank after coming up short despite Rondo’s memorable performance. “I thought we played with great heart, but I didn’t think we played smart all the time,” Celtics coach Doc Rivers said. “And there are things we can absolutely fix, and we’ll do that.”
- The Heat are 0-5-1 ATS in their last six games as a road underdog.
- The Celtics are 13-6-1 ATS in their last 20 home games.
- The under is 19-7-1 in the last 27 meetings in Boston.
1. Overcoming a 15-point deficit represented Miami’s largest playoff comeback victory in franchise history. The Heat had twice overcome 14-point deficits.
2. James shot 24 free throws in Game 2 and Miami attempted 47 overall (making 31). Boston was 26 of 29.
3. Celtics forward Paul Pierce has fouled out of two of the last three games, including Game 7 of the series against Philadelphia.