The Celtics desperately need a win in Game 4 to make this a long series, and shift the pressure back on the Miami Heat.
The longer the series goes, the better chance that the Celtics have to win it. The Celtics, in pressure situations, come together and play their best basketball. The jury is still out on the Heat, specifically Lebron James, on whether either can handle the spotlight. Last year in the playoffs against Boston, the Celtics were never able to extend the series long enough to force Lebron to come through in the clutch. A win tonight, and the Heat are basically in a must-win in Game 5. A loss, and the series is all but over. These are the stakes. The Celtics put themselves in this position by not finishing the Heat off in Game 2. It's strange but it is almost as if this team can't become interested until their backs are pushed against the wall. They aren't fully engaged until their collective lives are the on the line. Well, if that's the case the Celtics should be more than ready for tonight's game, because if they don't pull this one out, the Big Three Era may be heading to Miami to do what most people do when they move to Florida, retire.
Here are three keys to tonight's game...
Bench press: If Keyon Dooling, Mickael Pietrus, and Marquis Daniels can combine to provide half of what they gave the Celtics in Game 3, Boston should have a good chance to tie the series.
Official-ly problematic: Famous Celtics-hater Bill Kennedy, and famous home-team hater Joey Crawford will combine for one of the worst possible officiating crews the Celtics could have hoped for in Game 4. Of course, this means that the Celtics will probably win by 20.
Captain come back. Please: If the Boston Celtics are going to win Game 4 and tie the series, I believe Paul Pierce needs to have a classic playoff performance. I think Rondo will be his dominant self, Ray Allen will make shots, but I can't count on KG dominating after taking that much of a beating in Game 3. If the Celtics are going to make this a series, Pierce needs to put his stamp on the playoffs tonight.