Round 2, Game 4: Celtics vs. Heat
|(1-2)||-- vs. --||(2-1)|
PAYNE'S THREE THINGS TO WATCH
- Rondo's Status: Rajon Rondo's improbable comeback from a dislocated left elbow in the second half of Game 3 was certainly gutsy, but now it's a question of how well he'll be able to play with the injured arm, if at all. He'll be listed as a game-time decision heading into tonight's game, with Delonte West, who suffered a bruised left shoulder in Game 3, ready to step in should he be unavailable. Rondo's value to the Celtics needs no explanation, but given his effort to return in Game 3, if he's physically capable of participating tonight, he'll give it a shot.
- Limit Anthony: The Celtics have plenty to worry about with LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, and Chris Bosh on the floor for the Heat, which is why they can't afford to allow guys like Joel Anthony to impact the game in a positive way for Miami. In Game 3, Anthony was nothing short of a game-changer for the Heat, as he posted 10 points and seven rebounds in the first half, significantly aiding the Heat's second unit (along with Mario Chalmers) as it fought to keep the game close when the Celtics were poised to make a run coming off of their best first quarter of the series. Anthony finished with a 12-point, 11-rebound double-double, with four of his boards coming on the offensive end.
- Can't Stop Garnett: The numbers from Game 3 alone speak volumes. Kevin Garnett put forth a monster 28-point (13-of-20 shooting), 18-rebound effort, while Chris Bosh finished with only six points (on 1-of-6 shooting) and five rebounds. Bosh admitted after the game his nerves failed him somewhat once he saw how amped Boston's fans were, which only further limited him in a matchup the Celtics have to continue to try and exploit if they want to win this series. Expect Garnett to get a boatload of shots once again tonight, and should the Heat alter their defense at all, he can always resort to his excellent passing game to keep them on their toes.
WALTHAM, Mass. (AP) -- Boston Celtics coach Doc Rivers did his best to stay out of the trainer's room on Sunday, lest he learn something about one of his injured players that he didn't want to hear.
"It's a pretty busy room right now," he said on Sunday, a day after the Celtics earned a bruising 97-81 victory over the Miami Heat in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference semifinals despite injuries to point guards Rajon Rondo and Delonte West. "Right now, we're going to go with, 'They're all playing."
Rondo dislocated his left elbow in the third quarter on Saturday night when he got tangled up with Miami guard Dwyane Wade and got thrown to the floor. He had an MRI and CAT scan at New England Baptist Hospital on Sunday, and both tests came out negative, Celtics spokesman Jeff Twiss said.
West, who had a bruised left shoulder, was feeling better on Sunday and did not go to the hospital for tests, Twiss said. Rivers said he would likely decide just before gametime -- or later -- whether Rondo will play.
"I'm optimistic about both, that they're going to play. I don't know why I am, but I am," Rivers said, adding that he has tried to avoid watching the video of Rondo's arm being bent into an unnatural position when he was thrown to the floor by Wade. "I just don't know how well either one can play."
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