The Miami Heat head to Boston for Game 3 of their Eastern Conference Finals series with the Celtics. The Heat look to take a commanding 3-0 series lead after winning the first two games at home.
Miami is favored to make it to the NBA Finals, but the Celtics have given the Heat a run for their money thus far. Boston almost won Game 2, losing by four points in overtime.
As the series moves back to Beantown, the Celtics are in great position to win Game 3.
Miami leads the series, but Boston is expected to win this game. They are favored by 2.5 points at most Las Vegas sportsbooks.
The bookmakers think the Celtics will come out on top, and rightfully so. They came dangerously close to stealing Game 2, and almost won in overtime with Paul Pierce on the bench, with six fouls, for the entire extra period.
The biggest reason why the Heat came away with the victory may have been the ineptitude of the officials. Most of the calls favored Miami, with the Heat shooting 47 free throws compared to the Celtics 29. Boston's star small forward, Pierce, fouled out and Miami's small forward, Lebron James, was charged with only two fouls.
By the end of the game, Boston's bench had been depleted because of foul trouble. Not only did Pierce foul out, but Keyon Dooling and Mickael Pietrus were also disqualified for having too many fouls.
The refs also missed a few blatant foul calls down the stretch of the game that played a big role in deciding the outcome. Rajon Rondo was hit in the face while missing a layup with 1:35 remaining in overtime. Miami turned that miss into two points, and was able to secure the win.
Don't expect the Heat to get the majority of the calls in Game 3. The home team usually gets the benefit of the doubt in the NBA. It will be difficult for Miami to get as big of an advantage at the free throw line on Friday.
The Heat will also be without Chris Bosh again. Miami has learned to play well without the power forward after a rough start, but they will miss the big man in this game.
Boston came close to winning Game 2, despite the struggles of Kevin Garnett. Garnett went just 6-18 from the field, and took some longer shots than he is accustomed to taking. Look for the Celtics to feature Garnett inside for much of the contest. Without Bosh to defend him, Garnett should have one of his better games of the playoffs.
Miami's supporting cast has played as well as the Heat could've expected through two games. Mike Miller and Udonis Haslem have hit their open shots. Shane Battier and Mario Chalmers have actually played like competent starters.
Besides Lebron James and Dwyane Wade, the Heat players have been very inconsistent for the entire season. Don't expect them to play well for three straight games against one of the best defensive teams in the NBA.
The Celtics desperately need to win Game 3.
No NBA team has ever come back from a 3-0 deficit to win a postseason series, and a loss would essentially end any chance of the Celtics making the NBA Finals. Boston is a veteran team that plays its best when its backs are against the wall. They followed up each loss last series with a win, and won a close Game 6 in the first round to avoid playing a Game 7 on the road.
The Heat may be more talented than the Celtics, but they have a tendency to not always bring their best effort. Miami has a comfortable 2-0 lead, so it wouldn't be surprising to see them come out a little sluggish in this one.
If the Celtics are able to win Game 3, this series will be far from over.