BOSTON -- The Heat still hasn't figured out how to win at TD Garden.
The Heat has struggled in games for two seasons in Boston and Friday night was no different. The Heat fell behind early and trailed by 24 points at the beginning of the fourth quarter. The Heat outscored the Celtics 28-16 in the final period but Boston held off the rally and won with ease.
In the Heat's Big 3 Era, Miami has only won once at the Garden. It came in Game 4 of last year's Eastern Conference finals. A victory on Sunday would blow the series open for the Heat. There's only one problem with that scenario, though. Rajon Rondo has avoided dislocating his elbow this time around.
IT WAS OVER WHEN...
Shane Battier fouled Rondo in the act of shooting with 4:29 left in the game. Rondo made his four-foot jump shot and then converted his and-one free throw to give Boston a 13-point lead.
PAGING CHRIS BOSH
The Heat won five straight games without Bosh but playing without their All-Star power forward finally caught up to Miami in Game 3. Kevin Garnett had 24 points and 11 rebounds and the Heat got absolutely nothing from fill-in Shane Battier. He finished without any points and just three rebounds. Heat coach Erik Spoelstra wouldn't commit to ruling out Bosh for Game 4 but it's doubtful he plays on Sunday.
Dwyane Wade and LeBron James combined for 35 free-throw attempts in Game 2. After what seemed like a national outcry that the NBA somehow had it in for the Celtics, Wade and James had just five free-throw attempts between them in Game 3. James was 1 of 5 from the line and Wade didn't attempt a foul shot. It's the first time since his rookie season Wade hasn't attempted a free throw in a playoff game.
DEATH BY RONDO
He wasn't historic in Game 3 but Rondo was still the Celtics catalyst. He finished with 21 points, 10 assists and six rebounds.
The Heat was 10 of 20 from the free-throw line. That's right, 50 percent. I think Erik Spoelstra just threw up a little in his mouth. The Celtics were 20 of 26 from the line.
Maybe it's just me, but I think Chalmers needs to be more of a focal point for the Heat. The guy is obviously playing better right now than he ever has but he only attempted 11 shots despite playing nearly 45 minutes. He was 5 of 11 from the field and 1 of 2 from three-point range for 14 points. This might sound crazy, but maybe it's time to start trusting Chalmers a little more. Of course, even Chalmers struggled from the foul line in Game 3. He was 3 of 6.
The Celtics had 58 points in the paint and out-rebounded the Heat 44-32. Boston had 12 offensive boards compared to six for the Heat.
QUOTES OF THE NIGHT
"I feel great. I'm young."
--Rondo when asked how he felt after playing 53 minutes in Game 2 and 42 minutes in Game 3.
"We're not satisfied with just this one win. They've defended their home court and in a couple of days we'll do the same."
"I'm getting crap about my form, but I want people to know it's because it was on my knuckles. That's old school. My uncle taught me to do pushups on my knuckles. That's some Army-Navy stuff."
--Kevin Garnett on his push-ups after hitting the deck hard in the second half.
"They got us tonight. We still got a golden opportunity and we know it."
--Heat coach Erik Spoelstra
"We feel we can win on the road. We know this is a tough place to play."
"We'll play a much tougher Game 4."
--Heat forward Shane Battier