After a Game 2 destruction of the Miami Heat on the road, the Boston Celtics returned home for Game 3 Saturday night. Unfortunately, the game went the complete opposite way that Celtics fans were expecting.
From the jump, Miami did not miss and Boston could not find the bottom of the net. Things spiraled out of control early with the C’s being down by as many as 26 points in the first half.
The Celtics’ sloppy play resulted in countless turnovers and easy transition buckets for the visiting squad. A late rally brought the shamrocks to within 15 points as the teams headed for the halftime break.
As the teams emerged from the tunnel to start the second half, it was announced that Jimmy Butler would be out the rest of the game with knee inflammation. Boston capitalized on Butler’s absence, bringing the game to within one point down the stretch but were never able to take the lead.
A couple of major injury scares to Jayson Tatum and Marcus Smart proved to be false alarms, but even with four of their five starters, the C’s could not catch the Heat.
Miami snatched a playoff franchise record nineteen steals in the game. It’s very simple as to why Boston lost Game 3. You can’t win if you give the other team over twenty free possessions.
Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown combined for thirteen of the team’s 23 giveaways. Tatum also struggled mightily from the floor shooting just 3-of-14 and dropping only ten points.
Marcus Smart is a game-time decision for Game 4 with an ankle injury. JT joins him on the injury report as he is also a game-time decision with a neck ailment. To round off the injured starters, Robert Williams III is also a game-time decision as he continues to battle through a sore knee.
On the Heat side of things, the injuries have stacked up as well. Kyle Lowry, who returned in Game 3, is a game-time decision as he works his way through a nagging hamstring injury.
Tyler Herro is listed as out with a groin injury that held him out of the fourth quarter of Game 3. Gabe Vincent and Max Strus are both listed as game-time decisions with persistent minor injuries.
PJ Tucker is also a game-time decision as he battles a knee issue.
Finally, Jimmy Butler is questionable as he deals with knee inflammation.
Now that we have covered all of that never-ending list of injuries, let’s get to the keys to a Boston Celtics victory in Game 4: