After taking a punch right in the jaw in Game 2, the Boston Celtics had no choice but to get back on their feet and fire back against the Miami Heat in Game 3 on Saturday night.

Boston made all the necessary adjustments that held the team back in Game 2, which allowed the Celtics to regain their lost momentum. Instead of a liability, the defense was the biggest strength that the Celtics could lean on, proving the regular season’s most winningest team (64-18) has the fortitude to flip the switch following a discouraging postseason defeat.

“I trust our team,” Celtics head coach Joe Mazzulla said after Boston’s 104-84 win, per NBC Sports Boston. “I don’t expect them to play perfect and I don’t expect the series to be easy or to go a certain way, but I trust them. And I know they wanna win and I know they’ll do whatever it takes.”

Here are three Game 3 takeaways after the Celtics snagged a 2-1 series lead:

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1. The Celtics needed to respond, and they did the best way possible
Miami pulled the rug out from underneath Boston in Game 2, carrying confidence from its 35-point fourth quarter in Game 1 to pick apart the perimeter matchups in a 3-point parade the Celtics couldn’t handle.

Strutting into Miami’s beach day temperatures, the Heat were cooled off from the start — held to 12 first-quarter points — and nothing changed. By halftime, the Celtics had limited Miami to a season-low 39 points, exercising the exact urgency that allowed the Heat to leave Boston with a skyrocketed confidence.

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“I think our attention to detail on the defensive end today was a lot better than last game,” Jayson Tatum explained, as seen on NBC Sports Boston’s postgame coverage. “We tried our best to not let them get comfortable, get in a rhythm. They’re gonna make shots but just try to make it as tough as you can, as often as you can.”

The Heat finished shooting 9-for-28 from downtown (32.1%), playing four quarters of non-competitive basketball, never possessing a lead over Boston.

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2. Sam Hauser drew a line at Miami’s physical antics
The damage of Game 2 was simple: since Miami punked Boston freely, who’s to say anyone in the playoffs can’t push the Celtics around? Well, keeping that in mind after Caleb Martin’s hard foul in Game 1 and Jimmy Butler’s social media trolling after Game 2, Hauser answered back.

In the third quarter, Hauser triggered a reaction from Miami’s Tyler Herro, who angrily threw the ball at Boston’s sharpshooter, earning a technical foul. Hauser, in response, didn’t back down from the strange-dressing Heat guard and approached Herro before the game proceeded.

Herro finished a minus-15, charged with logging a game-high four turnovers and finishing as a non-factor in Game 3.

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While Boston doesn’t need to be the toughest team in the league, it wouldn’t hurt the Celtics to stand up for themselves from time to time either.

3. Boston doesn’t need to be on its A-game to beat the Heat
It didn’t take a record-setting performance or a 40-point clinic from any specific player for the Celtics to take care of business and hold the Heat at bay for four quarters of playoff action.

“We learn from our experiences and now’s the time to show it,” Jaylen Brown told reporters, per NBC Sports Boston. “… On any given night, teams can come out and hit a plethora of shots. They had a record-breaking night the other day but we don’t panic. We watched the film and broke it down, seeing where we can make improvements, and then we come out and we execute. And I thought that’s what we did tonight.”

While also stiff-arming Miami’s outside shooting hand, Boston punished the Heat for their miscues. The Celtics scored 24 points off 12 Miami turnovers, all while committing only five of their own. Boston urgently switched defensively when the Heat and their offensive execution called for it, causing Spoelstra’s rotations to lack the creativity needed to drain shots.

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If the Celtics did indeed learn their lesson after Game 2, nothing should stop them from putting the Heat away in five games.

Featured image via Jim Rassol/USA TODAY Sports Images