Doc Rivers said Saturday the Celtics need to play even better in Game 4 than they did Friday night in Game 3 to have a chance in this series. More on that in a second. Let’s start with some stats Rivers must have liked from Game 3:
— The Celtics outrebounded the Heat, 44-32.
— Kevin Garnett was 10 of 16 from the floor, a sign that he got tremendous post position, and that the Celtics found creative ways to get him the ball.
— Led by Marquis Daniels (9 points), the Celtics bench scored 18 points.
— The Celtics shot 50 percent from the floor. They got to the line 26 times, compared to 20 times for Miami.
— Dwyane Wade scored 18 points on 9-of-20 shooting.
One more effort like Friday night, and this series is tied. Still, Rivers wasn’t ready to heap praise on his team just yet.
“I still think we can play better, and that’s the first thing I told them after the game,’’ Rivers said. “In the first quarter I thought we were poor defensively, and in the fourth quarter we were poor defensively. That’s the point I’m making: We played well, but there’s a better game in us, and we know it. We’ll see it on film, and we have to do it.’’
Here are the details for tonight’s game:
Tip-off: 8:30 p.m.
Series: Heat lead, 2-1
Broadcast info: ESPN, WEEI/850 AM/93.7 FM (Sean Grande and Cedric Maxwell)
PG: Rajon Rondo
SG: Ray Allen
SF: Paul Pierce
PF: Brandon Bass
C: Kevin Garnett
PG: Mario Chalmers
SG: Dwyane Wade
SF: LeBron James
PF: Shane Battier
C: Ronny Turiaf
Wade and James: : James had 34 points in Game 3, but he earned just five trips to the line, compared to 24 in Game 2. Outside of a dynamite first quarter, James didn’t burn the Celtics, while Wade never did. Limiting how those two get their points is always the key to beating Miami.
Consistent defense: The Heat shot 49 percent from the field Friday night, so there’s still room for improvement there. If Miami hadn’t missed 10 free throws, the score would have been a lot closer. The defense on Wade was good, but it can be even better.
Boston’s rotation: The Celtics bench doesn’t need to come up with 30 or 40 points to be effective. More than scoring, they need to give the starters a blow and allow Rivers to be comfortable giving them those minutes. Keyon Dooling, Marquis Daniels, and Mickael Pietrus combined for almost 60 minutes in Game 3. Rivers would love more of that.