The C's won this game because of 1 simple fact: they kept scoring.
I have argued before that, ultimately, offense separates the championship contenders from champions. Please understand, I am not saying you can win with no defense. I am saying that most championship contenders are defensively sound, and the thing that separates them is the ability to score under pressure.
What people often fail to understand is the effect of pressure on teams' ability to score. A team that gets comfortable shoots with confidence. And a big role in this connection is the pressure placed on a team when another team scores. It is actually fairly rare for 2 teams to trade baskets for long stretches of time. Basketball is a game of runs. And when the other team is on a scoring run, it is very difficult to keep in touch.
In the case of the Cs and the Heat, this principle is exaggerated to a remarkable degree. Both teams are vulnerable offensively.
The Celtics almost always play enough defense to win. It's the offensive lulls that kill them. And those lulls are odd, because they are, in general, a superb scoring team in the half-court. But then they'll go ice cold and throw the ball away.
Meanwhile, the Heat live off transition offense. They cannot beat good teams in the half court. If you score on them consistently, you hurt their offense severely. They are also mentally fragile in a way that the Cs never are. Score steadily on the Heat and you can whip them.
We have seen this in all 3 games. In games 1 & 2, we struggled to score and the Heat went off ... relatively speaking. We actually did play a lot ofdefense in games 1 & 2. But the long scoring drought set the Heat free.
By contrast, I think it is quite clear that, if we score consistently, the Heat can;t really compete with us.
So, the big question for me is whether the offensive break through last night can carry over. We scored throughout the game, and the Heat cannot handle that.
IF ... and it's a big if ... we can settle in with a sustainable sense of how to score on the Heat, we will win the series.
Obviously, the health of Rondo and Delonte will play a big role in whether we can sustain this offensive resurgence. About that, I dunno.
Game 4, IMO, will settle the series. If Rondo and/or Delonte can lead the offense to even the series, I would expect to win it. The pressure will build on a team with little heart and the Heat will fold.
If not, we'll lose it in 5.
Game 4 offense. That's where the money will be.