The Miami Heat and The Boston Celtics are in a Mexican standoff in the Eastern Conference Finals as they are tied in the series 1-1. With homecourt advantage, the Celtics look to take the lead in the series. The Heat know that they were in a difficult position in the TD Garden but they have no intentions of letting that get into their game.
The Boston Celtics went with their starting lineup of Marcus Smart, Jaylen Brown, Jayson Tatum, Al Horford and Daniel Theis. The Miami Heat started with Kyle Lowry, Max Strus, Jimmy Butler, PJ Tucker and Bam Adebayo.
With the opening tip, the Miami Heat opened the scoring with a 3-pointer from Max Strus. They then proceeded to go on a 8-2 run. The Heat were on fire despite playing on their opponent’s ground. Especially Bam Adebayo, who bullied the paint area and got buckets with ease.
The Celtics were having a rough night as they could not get their shots to fall early on. On top of that, they were turning the ball over which shows the Heat’s defense. However, Jaylen Brown was scoring for the team to keep them afloat. Yet the Heat had widened the score gap early on itself.
In the 2nd quarter, it was Celtics who were working their defense. Yet points were hard to come by. It was even harder for the Heat who were missing their mark when it came to making the shots. Despite the fact, both teams had their defenses up all the time making it harder to score. But the Heat had the lead of the game in the end of the 1st half with a score of 62-47.
Unfortunately for the Miami Heat, Jimmy Butler had to sit out the rest of the game as he suffered an inflammation on his right knee. This is a huge blow considering that Butler is the one who carries the load on the offense and guards Tatum and Brown alternatively.
The Celtics knew they could take advantage of the situation so they went on the offense aggressively. But while going for a rebound, Marcus Smart twisted his ankle while attempting to grab an offensive rebound. He was sidelined but he returned after a few minutes. The Celtics gave up the ball a lot many times and the Heat were unable to extend their lead despite the Celtics’ setback.
In the final quarter, Bam Adebayo was back to dominating the paint. The Celtics knew that they had the Heat’s 3s in check so they went aggressively. Jaylen Brown was not going to pull any punches as he was swishing shot after shot.
The Celtics were shooting better until, Jayson Tatum suffered a huge blow to the elbow when he ran into Gabe Vincent while driving to the lane. The Celtics were able to block the shot and convert but Tatum had to be sidelined. He came back after 2 minutes but he was not being able to produce offensively or defensively.
The Heat knew they could not let the lead get away from them so they attacked to keep their lead intact. The Celtic shad brought the lead down to single-digit but the Heat persevered as their late game shooting helped them secure the lead till the final buzzer sounded.
Jaylen Brown led both teams in scoring with 40 points, 9 rebounds, an assist, a steal and a block. However, he also had 7 turnovers to add to the tally. Al Horford followed him up with a double-double of 20 points, 14 rebounds, 3 assists and 3 blocks. Despite the injury, Marcus Smart came back to score 16 points, 4 rebounds and 7 assists.
Bam Adebayo led the Heat in scoring with a double-double of 31 points, 10 rebounds, 6 assists, 4 steals and a block. PJ Tucker followed him up with 17 points, 7 rebounds, an assist, 3 steals and a block. Max Strus had a decent game as well, putting up 16 points, 4 rebounds, 2 assists and a block.
Takeaways from Game 3
The Miami Heat claimed Game 3 with a scoreline of 109-103. They now lead the series 2-1, but that came at a price. Jimmy Butler will most probably be missing the next 2 games due to his injury and there is no guarantee that he will be 100% when he comes back. This means that somebody else form the team has to take on the main scoring role.
The Boston Celtics have a lot to think about going into the next game. Marcus Smart and Jayson Tatum will definitely be questionable for the next game. On top of that, they are giving up way too many possessions on turnovers. They have a chance to turn the series around but that will have to be executed within the next 2 games before Jimmy Butler shows up.