After everyone had left them for dead, assuming that they were rotting faster than the corpse a Walter White victim left in a barrel full of Hydrofluoric acid, the Celtics returned to the land of the living and stole a victory away from the Cleveland Cavaliers with a last second threepointer from Avery Bradley. The final score, 111-108.
LeBron James had his worst game of the NBA Playoffs thus far, as he shot 4 of 13 from the field, ending with 11 points. The Cavs bench was also quite bad, only scoring 9 points on 14 shot attempts from Iman Shumpert, Kyle Korver, Deron Williams, and Richard Jefferson.
The Celtics shot very well from three and ending up making 18 of 40 on the game. No one was more impressive than the sudden sharpshooting prowess of Marcus Smart who made 7 of 10 threes in the game. That is, let’s just say, slightly better than the career average for Smart of 29.1 percent.
The glorious, glamorous, and all-around Boston golden boy Kelly Olynyk also made a resurgent appearance after his come down from the previous series’ heroics. Olynyk scored 15 points off the bench, playing 23 very important minutes.
In Game 3, the Celtics needed an offensive shot-in-the-arm from someone, as the loss Isaiah Thomas has left a gaping hole in the Celtics’ offensive gameplan. Smart and Bradley were able to provide that in Game 3, but we shall have to see if they can continue their hot shooting in Game 4.
The main takeaway from this previous game is that the Cavaliers are not going to be able to match the Warriors perfect 12-0 record going into the Finals. That’s pretty much it.
I don’t think that anyone really thinks that anything has changed about the complexion of the series. The Cavaliers just did not look ready to play and had to suffer through a bad LeBron game, while the Celtics were red-hot from three. These games happen.
As for tonight, I think it is more likely that we will see another blowout victory from the Cavaliers. They didn’t get here by accident and it certainly is doubtful that Marcus Smart stole Steph Curry’s shooting prowess suddenly.
On another note, this is a great article here from the always inestimable Zach Lowe, which goes into the 1-3 pick and roll that the Cavaliers have been utilizing that defenses can’t seem to figure out. These different wrinkles of the pick-and-roll have simply become one of the de facto plays on offense for the best teams in the league.
It will be interesting to see if the Timberwolves try to take on any of the offensive strategies that we have been seeing used in the playoffs. Other than, you know, simply being really good at basketball and having an MVP Candidate on your team. That also seems to do the trick.