The Boston Celtics played an uncharacteristic version of themselves in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Finals. Resulting in Miami taking this game 109-103 in the Boston TD Garden.
For most of the game, the Celtics played with lackluster effort. Perhaps it’s not giving the Heat enough credit for who they are after destroying them on their home court in Game 2.
In a game that was set up for Boston to take advantage in the series, they were unable to get the job done. Between home court advantage and having the momentum on your side, the Celtics couldn’t counter on the opportunity to take control of this series.
Not to mention, Jimmy Butler didn’t return after halftime, giving the Celtics that much more of an advantage without Miami’s best player on the court.
Let’s start with the turnovers
The Celtics had 23 turnovers collectively as a team. 22 of which came from the starting five and 13 others came from Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown combined.
Miami turned around scored 33 points off of those turnovers. In a game lost by 6 points, the Celtics essentially gave the game away after digging themselves back into it.
Here I am again mentioning the lackluster effort and carelessness we saw in Game 3- at home I must add. But what else do you call it when you give up 19 steals in a conference finals game? Oh, and only one steal shy of the NBA record.
Doing the math using this logic and metrics, the Celtics gave the ball away 42 times between turnovers and steals. By doing this, the Celtics took themselves out of the game.
Let’s get into the free throws quickly
The Celtics got to the free throw line plenty in this game. In fact the Celtics got to the line more than half the time the Heat did (30-14).
The C’s went 23-30 from the line. Leaving 7 FREE points on the table in a game lost by 6 is not ideal by any means. I mean, they don’t call them free for nothing.
Between Brown missing three, Smart missing two, and Tatum missing one, that’s the 6 points from our core players we lost this game by.
We have to mention Tatum’s performance
Tatum scored 10 points on 3-14 shooting from the floor and only 1-7 from behind the arc. It definitely wasn’t his night. However, if he just played somewhat decently, the Celtics would have won this game.
For the Celtics to advance to the Finals, Tatum needs to play like he’s the best player on the court at all times. He wasn’t even close to that in Game 3.
Looking ahead to Game 4
There’s a lot to work on prior to Game 4. But the Celtics still have the opportunity to even the series back to two games each and regain some momentum as they play at home in Boston again for Game 4.
That sounds good: Onto Game 4.
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