Game 3 of the Eastern Conference finals was full of twists and turns, and Celtics fans lived and died with every possession as Boston tried to mount a comeback against the Miami Heat at TD Garden.
The Celtics, who trailed by as many as 26 points in the second quarter Saturday night, pulled to within one with 2:40 remaining, but Max Strus then knocked down a back-breaking 3-pointer that extended the Heat’s lead to 96-92. Miami ultimately prevailed 109-103, with Boston never leading in the contest.
Strus was asked Sunday about the atmosphere at TD Garden and whether he heard how loud the crowd was as Boston clawed its way back into Game 3. His response probably won’t sit well with C’s fans.
“It was loud in there, for sure,” Strus told reporters. “Also heard when it got quiet, which was a lot of fun.”
OK, so not exactly a huge criticism. Again, Game 3 was an emotional rollercoaster, especially when you consider the injuries that various key players — Jayson Tatum, Marcus Smart, Jimmy Butler, Kyle Lowry and Tyler Herro among them — dealt with throughout the hard-fought clash.
But pointing out the silence in addition to the noise? That’s one way to rile up Green Teamers ahead of Monday night’s Game 4.
Strus also is familiar with Boston, having competed for a roster spot with the Celtics before the 2019-20 season. He ended up with the Chicago Bulls that year before later landing in Miami, where he has spent the last two seasons, carving out a meaningful NBA role in the process.
The crowd at TD Garden didn’t need an excuse to increase its intensity for Game 4, as Boston’s attempt to even the series before it shifts back to South Beach is reason enough for Celtics fans to bring the raucous Monday night. But perhaps Strus’ little dig will add even more fuel to the fire.