The Boston Celtics finally found a solution against the Miami Heat, managing to defend their lead in Game 3, and post the first triumph of the series, 117-106.
Unlike previous matches in which they allowed the Heat to find its way back into the game and erase huge deficits, the Celtics were focused and sharp in the final minutes.
Even though they had a 19-point lead in the last quarter, Brad Stevens’ boys again entered an intense finish. Bam Adebayo scored for109-104 with 55.9 seconds to go, but Marcus Smart sunk four consecutive free throws to make it more comfortable for the boys from Boston. Smart was perfect from the line in the last period hitting all of his nine attempts.
Overall, the Celtics led throughout the entire game, making the first notable lead early on in the second period. They had an 11-point edge in those moments, but Miami responded, cutting coming down to 51-48. A 12-2 run of the No.3 seed in the East allowed them to get into the second half more relaxed and with a solid gap behind them.
Until the closing phase of the contest, Steven’s team controlled the situation on the court and was looking much better than in previous meetings.
Jaylen Brown had 26 points, shooting 11-for-17 from the field, grabbing seven boards, and assisting five times. Jayson Tatum had one point fewer, but added 14 boards and 8 assists, being all over the court for the Celtics. Kemba Walker scored 21 points, and had 6 boards, while Marcus Smart added 20 buckets, six assists, and had all of his 10 free throws made.
Boston was ballin tonight ☘️
Jaylen Brown – 26pts/7reb/5ast
Jayson Tatum – 25pts/14reb/8ast
Kemba Walker – 21 pts/6reb
Celtics win 117-106 and trail Miami 2-1 in the ECF #BleedGreen pic.twitter.com/TqSYd8cSJi
— Sideline Sports (@sportsideline) September 20, 2020
Boston had a much better field-goal percentage, 48.2% compared to 38.8% of the Heat. They also controlled the glass much better, posting 59 boards, 12 more than the rivals. One more thing played a big role in their win, and that is scoring in the paint, 60-36.
Bam Adebayo had a team-high for Miami, 27 buckets, 10-for-14 from the field, with 16 boards, three steals, and two blocks. Tyler Herro added 22 off the bench, and Jimmy Butler had 17 with 8 rebounds. Duncan Robinson scored 13, with four threes.
Goran Dragic wasn’t at his usual level of play, with just 11 points, making two of his 10 shots on target. Jae Crowder had 10 points with the same shooting percentage.
Game 4 is coming on Wednesday, in order to align with the Western Conference finals between the Lakers and the Nuggets.