<
>

Pregame notes: Rebounding the key

MIAMI -- A collection of pregame news and notes before the Boston Celtics visit the Miami Heat in Game 3 of an Eastern Conference first-round series at the AmericanAirlines Arena:

The rundown (a quick look at pregame headlines)

* Doc's key to road success: Rebounding

* Heat, Spoelstra will take an ugly win

* Loose balls: Celtics' game plan revealed; KG chatter

Doc's key to road success: Rebounding

The Celtics primary focus in Game 3 is no different than it was in Game 2: Coach Doc Rivers stressed to his team how important it is to win the rebounding battle (and every available 50/50 ball for that matter).

Of course, the Celtics -- coming off a game in which they grabbed a season-high 50 caroms -- get a big boost towards that effort with the return of Kevin Garnett.

"Rebounding -- it's boring, but it is [the key to road success]," said Rivers. "That and taking care of the ball. Especially against [the Heat]. They're one of those teams where, if you turn the ball over, you might as well write in two points with [Dwyane] Wade in transition. That's a very likely chance he's going to score. Remember in Game 1, we had turnovers early and they got off to a quick start. On the road, you gotta win all the hustle board points and can't lose the turnover game."

Boston started strong on the glass in Game 2 and Rivers confirmed it was a primary goal.

"It may have been our only emphasis, not having Kevin," said Rivers. "That was a big focal point. We talked about it going into Game 1, but it was big going into Game 2."

Heat, Spoelstra will take an ugly win

Beggars can't be choosers, so down 2-0, the Heat wouldn't mind getting back to a familiar grind-it-out style of basketball in order to make this series interesting again.

"It's about getting back and grinding," said Erik Spoelstra. "This is what the team has done all season long. We have another opportunity tonight to crawl back into this. Everybody is looking forward to playing in front of our home fans. [The arena] will be energized. Our players love playing in front of these fans.

"We have to find more strength and composure than we did in the first two games. Tonight is about us getting to our game. We have not gotten to our game consistently for 48 minutes yet. It is our turn now in front of our home crowd."

Spoelstra then bottom-lined it.

"However we get it tonight, we just have to get a win and get back into this," he said.

Loose balls: Celtics' game plan revealed; KG chatter

* This is one of those rare instances when we can divulge the Celtics' game plan as it was drawn out on the team's locker room whiteboard: "Do what we do." Can't argue with the results so far.

* Spoelstra on Garnett's return to the lineup: "Their game doesn't change. [Glen] Davis brought them a real motivated energy and motor. He simply outworked us. Garnett fortifies their defense even more. We know what to expect."

* Doc on KG's return: "[The Game 1 fracas] happened so long ago, do you remember what happened? I don't even remember," he joked. "I think that stuff's gone now. I think it's almost in the 'whatever' category. Now it's back to basketball."

* Spoelstra on Garnett's power forward counterpart, Michael Beasley: "He is looking forward to contributing to this game to help us win on both ends of the court with his energy, passion, and being able to make plays and find opportunities."