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Welcome to Game 3 ...

Posted by Julian Benbow, Globe Staff  April 23, 2010 04:00 PM

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rayheat.JPG... where the Celtics have to reasons to stay focused and the Heat have two reasons to believe this series isn't halfway done just yet.

Last night, the eighth seeds in both conferences stunned the top dogs in crucial Game 3s. Chicago beat Cleveland, although Joakim Noah had to literally put LeBron James in the Scorpion Death Drop to keep James off the glass and essentially seal up the Bulls' win. Oklahoma City refused to let the Lakers spoil a night where they were playing their first home postseason game in franchise history. It was also the night where Scott Brooks accepted coach of the year. His smartest move of the night draping Kevin Durant on Kobe Bryant, stifling Mamba and giving the Thunder their first win in the series in comeback fashion.

That said, the Celtics know that even though they lead 2-0 they have the mental edge over the Heat, everything changes once a series swings to the other team's home floor.

"Game 3s are Game 3s," Celtics coach Doc Rivers said, "Miami has yet to have a home game. We’ve had two, we’ve done our job, but I don’t consider ourselves up in the series. I consider that we won our two home games. Now we have to come to play. If the two games didn't prove that, nothing will."

Both Rivers and Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said their teams caught last nigh'ts upsets. The American Airlines crowd will obviously be amped for their playoff opener, but Spoelstra said "We want to take advantage of the energy and enthusiasm and passion, but again, how long is that going to last. That can't just be temporary because of the atmosphere here."

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