NBA Playoffs: Miami Heat fight back in wild game at Boston Celtics

The Miami Heat won a dramatic Game 3 of the East Finals at the Boston Celtics 109-103. Despite a 26-point lead, it’s really tight in the end, also because Jimmy Butler was missing for the entire second half.

The Heat superstar (8 points) suffered from a knee infection and as a result never returned from the dressing room. In his place, Bam Adebayo (31 points, 15/22 FG, 10 rebounds, 6 assists, 4 steals) dominated and Miami was able to maintain the lead they had established in the first half.

PJ Tucker (17) and Max Strus (16) also made their contributions, while Kyle Lowry scored 11 points on his comeback. A key was also the defense, which forced a number of Celtic errors. Butler replacement Victor Oladipo (5 points, 4 steals) had a huge impact on that.

There was no official message from Butler after the game, Chris Haynes (Yahoo! Sports), however, reported that the odds are pretty good that Butler won’t have to miss another game.

Jaylen Brown had a really good day with the hosts and scored 40 points (14/20 FG) and 9 rebounds, but also 7 turnovers. Al Horford had 20 and 14 rebounds, while Marcus Smart had 16 points. Jayson Tatum disappointed with 10 (3/14 FG, 6 turnover). Daniel Theis got 1 point and 3 rebounds as a starter.

Miami Heat dominate the first half

With the Celtics, Robert Williams had to sit out again with knee problems, Daniel Theis got his fifth start of the postseason for him. There was better news for Miami as PJ Tucker reported fit and Kyle Lowry made his first comeback since Game 4 of the previous series.

The Heat got off to a better start, Lowry pushed the pace and found Butler after an opponent’s basket for an And-1 in transition, after which he added a three-pointer himself. Miami hit his first six shots for a 16-4 lead, Adebayo started much more aggressively and had 10 points after six minutes. Miami completely dominated, quickly leading to 24:7.

Horford did hit a three, Brown went to the line for three freebies and hit two jumpers. At least it got a little better, but Adebayo had the counterattack, then Martin followed up. 39:18 Miami at the quarter break, there were already isolated boos for the home team.

And it didn’t get any better at first, after a Martin three-pointer the Heat were ahead 46:20. After the next time-out, the Celtics moved the ball a bit better up front, but stops were scarce. Butler per And-1 put on +23, Boston took chances with fouls or turnovers. At the end of the quarter, the Celtics still managed to get a few good shots on the basket, then Tatum hit another three. “Only” 62:47 Miami at break.

Wild final phase: Celtics stumble over their own feet

Miami started in the third quarter with the previously unused Oladipo for Butler. Boston had Williams “start” instead of Theis. Then Smart twisted his ankle badly and hobbled into the cabin, it became quiet in the hall. There was also play, Brown shortened to 11, then Strus countered. To thunderous applause, Smart returned to the court and immediately set a three pointer to just -10.

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