Celtics-Heat Game 3 review: What we saw . . .

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Celtics-Heat Game 3 review: What we saw . . .

BOSTON Miami's LeBron James and Dwyane Wade combined for more fouls committed (8) than free throw attempts (5).

That right there tells you all you need to know about the Boston Celtics' 101-91 Game 3 win over the Miami Heat.

It was one of the few times all season that Miami's dynamic duo didn't spend much time at the free throw line.

Making matters worse, the five free throw attempts - all by James - only resulted in one point.

"We'll be more aggressive and we'll find ways to get to the rim and to the free-throw line next game," said Heat coach Erik Spoelstra. "We're not getting into anything else."

Prior to Game 3, the Celtics made no secret about their displeasure with how the first two games had been called in terms of fouls and free throw attempts.

On Friday, Boston had 26 free throw attempts compared to 20 for the Heat.

In the two previous games, Boston had a total of 50 free throw attempts compared to 70 for the Heat.

The lack of free throws, from the Heat perspective at least, had more to do with them not being as assertive offensively as they had been in the first two games in Miami.

"We settled a bit tonight," said Heat guard Mario Chalmers. "We weren't getting things to go our way, so we started settling for jumpers."

Regardless as to why it happened, it doesn't change the fact that the Heat's two primary sources for getting to the line - James and Wade - were not able to do so. As big a factor as that was in the game's outcome, it wasn't the only one. Here are other keys outlined prior to Boston's Game 3 win, and how those factors contributed to the game's final outcome.

WHAT TO LOOK FOR: Coming off the kind of performance Rajon Rondo had in Game Two, you can expect the Heat to look at ways to not allow him to be such a dominant force. Do not be surprised if Rondo sees more double-teams along with the Heat making a more concerted effort to get the ball out of Rondo's hands. "(Rondo) almost single-handedly beat us," said Heat forward Shane Battier.

WHAT WE SAW: The Heat didn't really treat Rondo any differently in terms of attention. It was clear early on that Rondo, much like he did in Game 2, was intent on taking whatever the defense gave him. For most of the game, he was not given nearly as much of a cushion to shoot the ball. And when he drove, Miami was sending more bodies his way then they did in Game Two. But when all was said and done, Rondo had a strong night with 21 points, 10 assists and six rebounds.

MATCHUP TO WATCH: Kevin Garnett vs. Ronny Turiaf: The Heat fully understand and accept that they will not win this matchup. But what they have been able to do in the first two games is make Garnett work hard for all his points, limiting him primarily to scoring from the perimeter which is not what the Celtics want. One of the reasons Boston was able to move past both Atlanta and Philadelphia in the playoffs, was because of Garnett's ability to impact the game as a scorer or a passer, from the post. That has not been the case in the first two games against Miami, a trend the C's need to stop if they are to get back into this series.

WHAT WE SAW: Garnett once again had his way with Turiaf and the entire Heat team, getting a good chunk of his scoring inside the paint as Miami was seemingly helpless in stopping him from scoring 24 points to go with 11 rebounds. "You don't want to be down 3-0 to a team like this," Garnett said.

PLAYER TO WATCH: Brandon Bass has to continue to find ways to maximize his minutes on the floor, knowing his playing time will be somewhat limited because of the Celtics success with a small ball lineup that more often than not, doesn't include him. The best way for him to get more minutes, is to do what he does best and that is to knock down mid-range jumpers. During the regular season, only four players (Dirk Nowitzki, Carlos Boozer, Russell Westbrook and Kobe Bryant) took more mid-range jumpers (15-19 feet) than Bass. It has been more of the same in the playoffs, where Bass ranks third in 15-19 foot shots taken, trailing only Westbrook and teammate Kevin Garnett. And with the Heat doing so much switching defensively, there's a very good chance that he'll at various points in the game have a matchup that's decidedly in his favor.

WHAT WE SAW: Bass never got into any kind of flow or rhythm, in large part because he spent more time on the bench than usual due to early foul trouble. He finished with five fouls which limited him to just four points on 1-for-3 shooting.

STAT TO TRACK: The 3-point shot was never a real weapon of choice for the Miami Heat during the regular season, which explains why they were ranked just 20th in the regular season in 3-pointers made per game (5.6). They have been better in the playoffs in that category, ranking fifth with 6.2 3s made per game. Two games into this series, and Miami's ability to connect on the long ball has played a major role in both Miami victories. Boston's ability to limit the Heat's effectiveness from 3-point range will go far in their effort to win Game Three.

WHAT WE SAW: Miami connected on 5-for-17 of its 3s, but the majority of them came when the game was out of reach and the Celtics defense, playing with a sizable cushion, seemed to ease up just a little bit.

Celtics-Hawks preview: Thomas 'not worried about' Schroeder

Celtics-Hawks preview: Thomas 'not worried about' Schroeder

AUBURN HILLS, Mich. –  Isaiah Thomas has respect for the Atlanta Hawks team.

So when I asked him about the Hawks, Thomas spoke glowingly about Paul Millsap as being a “special player” and Dwight Howard having a huge impact on shot attempts whether he’s blocking them or not.

But he knows all eyes will be on him and Hawks point guard Dennis Schroeder who had some not-so-nice things to say about Thomas following Boston’s 103-101 win at Atlanta on Jan. 13.

The two waged a feisty, highly combative game most of the Jan. 13 game with Thomas getting the better of Schroeder in just about every statistical category such as scoring (28 points for Thomas compared to 4 for Schroeder), assists (nine to three), and minutes played (36:16 to 22:36).

And then there was the one statistic that mattered most … the win.

But after the game, Schroeder told reporters that Thomas had spoken badly about his mother.

“I’m playing basketball,” Schroder told reporters after the game in January. “If he think that he got to curse at my mom or say some dumb stuff about my family, that has nothing to do with basketball. That’s his choice. I’ve got too much class for that. Next one, we are going to get it.”

The news got back to Thomas who emphatically denied he said anything along those lines.

“I don’t talk about nobody’s mom,” Thomas said when he became aware of Schroeder’s comments. “I don’t cuss at anybody’s mom and I don’t talk about people’s family. So whatever he said, that’s a 100 percent lie and he knows that.”

When I asked Thomas about Schroeder following Boston’s 104-98 win at Detroit Sunday night, he had little to say about the Hawks point guard.

“Man I’m past that. I’m not worried about that guy,” Thomas said. “Once he did that the last game, where he tried to damage my character, (saying I was) talking about his parents … I’m past that. Hopefully we can beat the Atlanta Hawks. I’m not even worried about him.”

Schroeder may not be on Thomas’ radar as a major concern, but the players he spoke of earlier – Millsap and Howard – are two players who can have a significant impact on whether the Celtics can continue to build off of the good things they did against the Pistons.

And Atlanta (32-26) will come in extremely thirsty for success having lost their last three games – all by 15 or more points - and four of the last five.

Despite the Hawks recent struggles, the Celtics understand that despite their success this season they are in no position to take any team lightly.

“They’re a good team. They play the game the right way,” said Boston’s Jaylen Brown. “They have some really good players, some really good shooters, really good bigs down low. We have to come out and play harder than them, match their intensity, execute, move the ball, share the ball and have fun.”

Shaughnessy: Why I'm not a fan of Celtics not trading at deadline

Shaughnessy: Why I'm not a fan of Celtics not trading at deadline

Dan Shaughnessy joins Sports Sunday and talks with Felger about why he hated the Boston Celtics not making any moves at the deadline.