What’s the current narrative around the NBA? The Boston Celtics finally looked like themselves in Game 3 against the Miami Heat. But that happy anecdote could end very swiftly if they don’t repeat that same energy and determination in Game 4 tonight.
Some puzzling statistics have formed between these two teams and the Eastern Conference Finals. There have been 17 instances of a player scoring to give their team a double-digit lead, and Boston has done all 17 of those. The Celtics have also not trailed by more than eight points, have led by as much as 20, and have been in front for 75% of the first 149 minutes played in this matchup. But, the Miami Heat still leads the series. So what’s going on here?
It all comes down to the fourth quarter performance, and the Heat dominates the Celtics in that department. Miami’s either stormed back or taken over in the fourth quarter, and the Celtics have had no answer for it. It even happened in Game 3 when the Heat fought back from being down 104-88 to bring it within five points in the last minute. The main difference in that game was that Boston built up enough of a lead to see off the late Heat run.
Game 3 was a pivotal game for Boston, and to be fair, they did look really good. The arrival of Gordon Hayward was absolutely a boost for the team, and Hayward looked better than anyone thought despite missing extended time with an ankle injury. But tonights the real deal. Tonight is going to swing the series, and you know Miami’s ready for the challenge.
Catch you Thursday.