Celtics vs Heat score takeaway: Bam Adebayo leads Miami to crucial Game 3 victory despite loss to Jimmy Butler

Celtics vs Heat score takeaway: Bam Adebayo leads Miami to crucial Game 3 victory despite loss to Jimmy Butler

The Miami Heat took a 26-point lead over the Boston Celtics in Game 3 on Saturday night to hold on to a 109-103 win at TD Garden after a furious home side rally during the second half -time after Jimmy Butler had been ruled out of the game with an inflamed knee. Ultimately, Butler’s absence in the final two quarters wasn’t enough for Boston to make the comeback as Bam Adebayo finished the win with a team-high 31 points to go along with 10 rebounds, six assists and four interceptions.

On the other end of the spectrum, Jaylen Brown was fantastic for Boston, finishing the game with 40 points and nine rebounds. While Al Horford and Marcus Smart combined for 36 points, 18 rebounds and 10 assists, the Celtics were unable to overcome a poor shooting night from Jayson Tatum as the All-Star struggled mightily on the field finishing just 3 for 14 for the night. .

With the win, Miami takes a 2-1 lead over Boston with Game 4 coming up Monday night.

Here are four key points of the game:

1. Injuries take center stage again

Unfortunately, it was impossible to talk about this post-season, and this series in particular, without mentioning the injuries. Marcus Smart, Al Horford, Derrick White and Robert Williams have all missed a game in this series for the Celticswhile Kyle Lowry didn’t play in the Heat’s first two games.

The problem only got worse on Saturday, as Smart, Jayson Tatum and Jimmy Butler all made their way to the locker room at various times. Most notably, Butler sat out the second half due to knee inflammation. It should, however, go ahead. Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra said he won’t need an MRI, and according to USA Today, Butler won’t run out of time anymore.

Smart and Tatum actually returned to action, despite their injuries looking more serious. Early in the second quarter, Smart suffered a nasty sprained ankle that got worse when Lowry inadvertently rolled over his leg. Later, Tatum was darted while running for a loose ball and was on the ground for a few minutes in severe pain. After the game, Celtics head coach Ime Udoka said Smart and Tatum should both be good going forward.

2. Adebayo introduces himself

Bam Adebayo made his third straight All-Defensive Team appearance this season, and would have been an All-Star and potentially even Defensive Player of the Year had he not missed a long stretch with a chest injury. thumb. In the first two games of this series, however, he was largely unseen, finishing with 16 points, 13 rebounds and three assists.

Everything changed in Game 3. Adebayo came out like a man on a mission. He demanded the ball early and often, and hit a series of jumping and mid-range shots around the edge. He nearly matched his total from the first two games of the first quarter of this one as he had 12 points to help the Heat take an early double-digit lead.

Late in the game, with Butler out of action, he stepped up again. He scored eight points in the fourth quarter to delay the Celtics’ comeback attempt, including a superb off-balance jumper to beat the clock with 1:23 remaining. That shot knocked the Heat’s lead back to six and ended up being the dagger.

At the final buzzer, Adebayo had 31 points, 10 rebounds, six assists and four steals in by far his best performance of the entire postseason. The Heat are going to need Adebayo to play like this if they want to finish the job against the Celtics – especially if Butler isn’t 100%.

3. Lowry makes an impact on his return

Kyle Lowry hadn’t played since Game 4 of the Heat’s second-round series with the Philadelphia 76ers due to a hamstring injury, and there was no clear timeline for when he might. be back. It turned out he was ready for Game 3 and his return came at the perfect time for the Heat.

Although Lowry is far from his prime, he is still a vital part of this Heat team. It was a typical Lowry performance, as his stats weren’t that impressive — 11 points, one rebound, six assists, four steals on 4-of-11 shooting — but he finished plus-10. came with timely plays and overpowered the Heat.

For example, his flight with 48 seconds remaining. As the rest of the Heat retreated after a successful free throw, Lowry came in to steal a lazy inbounds pass from Grant Williams, then found Max Strus for a layup that ended any hope the Celtics still had.

The Heat are just better when Lowry is on the ground.

4. The Celtics have only themselves to blame

The Heat were great going into this game and deserve a lot of credit for how they started and then hung on without Jimmy Butler. That being said, the Celtics could and probably should have won this game. They shot 16 more free throws, Butler didn’t play in the second half and they were down to one deficit, but they couldn’t do it and they just have to blame themselves- same.

Again, the biggest issues were turnovers and careless plays. They weren’t focused or ready to match the Heat’s intensity to start the game, which is never expected to happen at home in the Eastern Conference Finals. And while they eventually returned to the game, they never really settled down.

They had 23 turnovers, including 13 from Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown – the most these two have ever combined in a game together. The Heat took advantage of that in a major way, scoring 33 points — more than 30% of their total offense — on those turnovers. In a game they lost by just six, the Celtics gave the Heat 33 points.

Along with the turnovers, the Celtics had another miss from Tatum, who finished with just 10 points to tie his playoff-low game. He shot 3 of 14 from the field and had twice as many turnovers as field goals. And that’s not even taking into account his shoulder injury. Tatum has been spectacular at times in the playoffs, but he’s prone to those nightmarish games the Celtics can’t afford. If he has even a halfway decent performance, they win this game.

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