The Miami Heat have taken two games on the road in Boston to begin the Eastern Conference Finals and are now just one victory away from reaching the NBA Finals. They secured a home win in Game 3 against the Celtics with a dominant 128-102 scoreline. Last year, the Celtics knocked out the Heat in seven games, but Miami now has a shot at revenge in Game 4, which will take place in their home state of Florida. The Heat have excelled on their home court this postseason, winning all three games in their second-round series with the New York Knicks, and they continued their momentum in Game 3.
The team had a strong start, winning the first quarter 30-22 and leading 61-48 at halftime. As they have demonstrated before, the Heat are a second-half team that can deliver explosive third-quarter production. This was once again the case, and the Celtics were unable to respond. Miami outscored Boston 32-17 in the third quarter, with their recipe for success being their ability to score from all areas of the court – a trend that has been apparent throughout the playoffs.
The Miami Heat began the game with a strong performance, winning the first quarter 30-22 and entering halftime with a comfortable 61-48 lead. As has been seen before, the Heat are a team that excels in the second half, producing explosive performances in the third quarter that leave their opponents struggling to keep up. This game was no exception, as the Celtics were unable to answer the Heat’s dominant play. Miami outscored Boston 32-17 in the third quarter, and their success was due in part to the fact that they have multiple scorers on the court at any given time. Although Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo are typically the focus of attention, this game saw six different Heat players scoring in the double digits, including Caleb Martin and Duncan Robinson coming off the bench.
Martin and Robinson set the tone in the first half, scoring 11 and 10 points, respectively, and ending the game with 18 and 22 points. Gabe Vincent was the leading scorer for the team, contributing 29 points with a highly efficient 11-of-14 from the field, including six made three-pointers. He also had two rebounds, three assists, one steal, and a block. Butler and Adebayo were also key players in the Heat’s win, with Butler scoring 16 points, grabbing eight rebounds, and making six assists, while also notching two steals. Adebayo had 13 points, three rebounds, and two assists, although his contribution was limited as Miami shot a remarkable 56.8% from the field as a team.
The Celtics conceded defeat when their bench players took the court in the fourth quarter, leaving the starters to contemplate how they lost the series so early. Jayson Tatum, who had a poor outing, was among the starters. After scoring 30 and 34 points in the first two games, Tatum managed only 14 points on Sunday, shooting 6-of-18 and missing six of his seven three-point attempts.
Despite collecting 10 rebounds, two assists, and two steals, Tatum’s lackluster performance was a letdown for the team. Jaylen Brown didn’t fare much better, scoring only 12 points on 6-of-17 shooting and missing all seven of his three-point shots. None of the other players, including Al Horford, Marcus Smart, and Derrick White, could pick up the slack offensively, as they had single-digit points. Miami’s only negative was veteran forward Kevin Love’s apparent injury, which kept him from returning to the game. Boston will have to win Game 4 on Tuesday at 8:30 p.m. ET in Miami to defend their Eastern Conference championship.