NBA: Celtics dominate Heat to seize Game 3

Miami, Sep 20 (Agencies) | Publish Date: 9/20/2020 12:34:40 PM IST

Jaylen Brown scored 26 points, Jayson Tatum added 25 and Gordon Hayward made his return on Saturday night as the Boston Celtics beat the Miami Heat to haul themselves back into contention in the Eastern Conference Finals.

After falling 2-0 behind in the series following Thursday’s defeat, Celtics players reportedly aired their frustrations in a raucous locker room and it seemed to do the trick as they were never behind in a 117-106 victory.

Kemba Walker scored 21 points and Marcus Smart 20 as the Celtics, for whom Tatum added 14 rebounds, shot 48.2 per cent (41 of 85). For Miami, Bam Adebayo had 27 points and 16 rebounds, while Tyler Herro scored 22 to lead six players in double figures for the Heat, who suffered just their second defeat in 12 playoff games en route to their lead in the Eastern Finals.

Boston never trailed, carrying a 13-point advantage into the second half for the second straight game but unlike in Game 2, when they were outscored 37-17 in the third quarter, the Celtics maintained control and entered the fourth.

Trailing 109-102, after Duncan Robinson nailed a 3-pointer and hit 1 of 2 at the line following a Brown flagrant foul with 1:03 left, Adebayo trimmed the deficit to five with 55.9 seconds to go, but Smart hit eight free throws as the Celtics held on.

Boston led 31-22 after the opening quarter and extended their lead to 12 on a Walker 3-pointer with 10:14 left in the first half to lead 36-24.

Miami responded with a Herro-inspired 13-4 run to get within three with just over three minutes of the half remaining remaining but the Celtics ended the quarter on a dominant run of their own, a 12-2 burst giving them a 63-50 at the break.

After three games in five days, the teams now have a three game break before Wednesday’s all-important Game 4 in the best-of-seven series.


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