Heat coach Erik Spoelstra praised the Celtics for better, more aggressive defense in their win in Game 3. In particular, the Celtics held the Heat to 14 points in the second quarter on their way to building a 13-point lead. Miami made just 5 of 18 shots in the second.
“They got us out of our offense there pretty much in the second quarter,” said Spoelstra. “The step-out, the pressure, flattened us out. We had about four or five empty possessions where we didn’t even get into what we wanted to.”
A big part of that defensive effort came from the Boston bench, which was led by Marquis Daniels and Keyon Dooling.
“It’s a credit for them to staying ready,” said Spoelstra. “That’s probably when the game turned, like I said, when the reserves came in.”
Daniels had played just 1:59 combined in the first two games of the series. Dooling had played, but he hadn’t been all that effective. The Celtics bench combined for just 7 points in all of Game 2.
The 8 points the Boston bench scored in the first quarter were indeed a welcome sight, as was Daniels’s 9 points for the game. But the most welcome sight for the Celtics may have been the defense of Daniels and Dooling. The Celtics were plus-14 with Daniels on the floor. Dooling finished with 7 points and four rebounds.
“Marquis was phenomenal tonight,” said Celtics coach Doc Rivers. “Keyon Dooling was phenomenal. Every guy actually that came off the bench contributed for our basketball team. And we needed it.”