BOSTON -- Everywhere Dwyane Wade turned, two Boston Celtics seemed to be waiting.
And as long as Chris Bosh is out, he understands it's probably going to stay that way. The Boston Celtics can double-team him without fear, knowing LeBron James is the only other Miami player who can consistently hurt them.
Wade scored only 18 points Friday in the Heat's 101-91 loss in Game Three, snapping his streak of 12 straight 20-point playoff games against Boston that was the longest since Jerry West had 18 in a row from 1966-69.
Wade isn't expecting Bosh back from his lower abdominal strain for today's Game Four, so the scheme probably won't change (8:30 p.m., ESPN). But he vows that his performance will.
"I'm not coming here crying," he said Saturday. "I can score the basketball, I've just got to find other ways to do that. It might not be a 41-point effort like it was in Indiana, you never know what each game takes, but I'm just going to go out here and play the game that I played for so many years and I will find a way to be effective."
Wade shot 9 of 20 in his second-lowest scoring performance of this postseason, after a five-point effort in Game Three of the second round against Indiana. He was struggling with knee pain then but insisted there's nothing wrong physically.
The only problem, he said, was the two defenders closing on him whenever he came off a pick or caught the ball anywhere near the lane. He was also largely contained in Game Two, managing only 15 points in regulation before scoring eight in overtime to help the Heat pull out a 115-111 victory.
"As a team, we have to figure out ways to exploit the double team," James said. "As his teammates, we've got to make ourselves available to make plays for ourselves, and also when the double team is not there early on offense, we've got to get the ball to him early so he can attack without a double team."
Wade didn't attempt a free throw for the first time in a playoff game since 2004, when he was a rookie. Still, he was far from the only problem for the Heat.
"You look at all the effort areas we dominated the first two games, we got our butt kicked in all of them last night," said coach Erik Spoelstra, rolling through the list quickly as if afraid he'd forget one if he stopped for a breath.
"Points in the paint, they pounded us. Rebounding, they pounded us. Free throws, they beat us. Layup attempts, they beat us. Every area that has to do with toughness and effort we lost, and in the first two games we were winning those categories. Loose balls, 50-50 opportunities."
That's because the Celtics realized that's the only way they can beat such a talented opponent.
"I just thought Game Three was more of a desperation game and we have to play like that," Kevin Garnett said. "We have to get these two at home by any means necessary and then deal with whatever after that."
Garnett scored 24 points, the Celtics taking advantage of an undersized Heat lineup without Bosh by repeatedly throwing it into their center near the rim. With Rajon Rondo adding 21 points and 10 assists, it's becoming clear they've found two matchups they can exploit.