The Celtics' Big Three will have to do something they have never had to do before, come back from two games down in the playoffs.
After dropping the first two games of series against the Miami Heat, the Celtics will try to overcome two lackluster efforts on Saturday night at TD Garden.
A key player for the Celtics will be Rajon Rondo. With Mike Bibby guarding him, Rondo scored only eight points and had five turnovers in Game One. Part of the reason or the dropoff was that Rondo was in foul trouble, but the point guard also looked unfocused.
In Game Two, Rondo had a resurgence, especially within the final two minutes, but it was not enough to make up for the team's sub-par play in the second quarter.
The Celtics need Rondo to get more players involved, as Boston shot a poor 43 percent in Game Two.
Things will change, as the series shifts to Boston. The Celtics have a fine collection of competitors and veterans, so home cooking, and some rabid Celtics' fans should help out a lot.
The Celtics managed to put more defensive pressure on the less prominent players of the Heat, but then LeBron James went off. It was an excellent performance by the star forward, as he scored 35 points on 14-of-25 shooting.
Though the Celtics have plenty of ways to score, Boston will need Pierce to play as he usually does, and not the way he's played in the first two games. Pierce managed to go to the free-throw line for only two attempts, and few players in the NBA are better at drawing defenders into fouling them than Pierce.
Doc Rivers may have Shaquille O'Neal in the lineup tonight. It's likely that O'Neal will have little impact on the game, but his presence on the court may provide a major boost for the Celtics on the defensive end.
But that might not be enough, as Dwyane Wade has looked particularly determined in the playoffs, and may give headaches to older defender Ray Allen.
A strong down low presence from Kevin Garnett might make up for the nine-block to two-block disparity in favor of the Heat. Boston needs to do better than that, because the Heat sure look like the more talented team, and Boston may need to out-hustle Miami to advance to the Eastern Conference Finals.
PREDICTION: Ray Allen will improve on his poor Game Two performance, and the Celtics will get some help from bench player Glenn Davis. However, LeBron James will continue his hot streak, and make this game closer than it should be. This one goes down to the wire, and Boston barely gets by.
SCORE PREDICTION: Boston 101, Miami 99.