05/21 23:57 CDT Heat Alert: Miami beats Boston 109-103 for 2-1 series lead
Heat Alert: Miami beats Boston 109-103 for 2-1 series lead
By JIMMY GOLEN
AP Sports Writer
BOSTON (AP) --- Still angry over a blowout loss in Miami that cost them
home-court advantage in the Eastern Conference finals, the Heat jumped to a
25-point, first-half lead over the Boston Celtics in Game 3.
Then Bam Adebayo made sure it was enough -- just barely -- to give Miami a 2-1
lead in the best-of-seven series.
The Heat center scored 31 points with 10 rebounds, filling a void left by
injured All-Star Jimmy Butler and leading Miami to a 109-103 victory Saturday
night. Adebayo also had six assists and four of the Heat's franchise postseason
record 19 steals.
"He did his version of what Jimmy does: ?Do what's necessary for the game,'"
Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. "Tonight we needed the scoring and we needed
that offensive punch early on.
"Then, when Jimmy was out in the second half, he just stabilized us," Spoelstra
added. "It got a little gnarly out there and when it did, we were able to get
the ball to Bam and just get something coherent."
The Celtics never led, but they cut a 62-37 deficit to one point, 93-92, with
2:40 to play on a 3-pointer from Jaylen Brown, who finished with 40 points. Max
Strus answered with a 3 and then Adebayo bounced off defender Al Horford and
made a basket at the shot clock buzzer to give Miami a six-point cushion.
The Celtics never came any closer.
Game 4 is Monday night in Boston.
"In the previous game, as everybody noticed, they beat us like we stole
something," Adebayo said. "That should wake everybody up. Getting beat at home
like that, that says it all."
In a bruising game that saw Butler and Boston's Jayson Tatum and Marcus Smart
leave with injuries --- though both Celtics returned --- Kyle Lowry came back
from a four-game absence and scored 11 with six assists for the Heat. P.J.
Tucker --- like Lowry, a game-time decision --- scored 17 for Miami.
Horford scored 20 points with 14 rebounds, and Smart scored 16. Tatum had 10
points on 3-for-14 shooting; he also had six turnovers, and Brown committed
seven of Boston's 2022 playoff-high 24 turnovers.
"Six turnovers, and no field goals in the second half -- that is unacceptable,"
Tatum said. "Honestly, I've got to play better. I feel like I left the guys
hanging tonight. That's on me."
After losing Game 2 at home by 25 points, the Heat opened a 62-37 lead with
under three minutes left in the second quarter. Then Boston scored the last 10
points of the half to claw its way back into the game.
Things got worse for the Heat when they announced at halftime that Butler, who
scored 41 in the series opener, would not return with right knee inflammation.
Miami still led by 15, 87-72, after three, and made it a 17-point game on
Adebayo's basket to start the fourth. But the Celtics ran off the next nine
points to get within single digits for the first time since the first three
minutes of the game. Trailing 93-80, the Celtics scored 12 straight points --
10 by Brown -- to make it a one-point game with 2:40 left.
Miami scored the next seven points.
"We didn't think that it was all of a sudden going to be an easy series and
they were going to roll over," Boston coach Ime Udoka said. "We bounced back
from Game 1 to Game 2, and they were going to do the same that and we had to
match that and came out flat for whatever reason."
IN AND OUT
Boston opened the second with a basket to make it a 13-point game, but the
building went silent when Smart, the Defensive Player of the Year, went down in
a collision with Lowry while going for a loose ball and needed to be helped to
the locker room.
Smart returned just five minutes later, drawing a huge cheer when the
scoreboard showed him walking down the tunnel back toward the court. He checked
back in with seven minutes left in the third and hit a 3-pointer that made it a
10-point game, 72-62, and forced the Heat to call timeout.
The situation was repeated when Tatum went down in obvious pain with five
minutes left in the fourth. He went straight to the locker room, clutching his
right side, but also returned to the cheers of the crowd.
"My neck got caught in a weird position," Tatum said. "Obviously, I went down
and felt some pain and discomfort in my neck and down my arm. I went to the
back, got it checked on, and started to gain some feeling back and got it
checked by the doctors and ran some tests and decided to give it a go."
Lowry missed eight of the Heat's previous 10 games with a right hamstring
strain, last playing in Game 4 of Miami's second-round series with
Philadelphia. Tucker had a sore left knee but was also in the starting lineup.
"I do not have any updates on anybody," Spoelstra said. "We're just going to go
back to our cave and just regroup and maybe I'll have some information for you
The Celtics played without center Robert Williams III, who missed three games
in the second round against Milwaukee with soreness and a bone bruise in his
surgically repaired left knee. Daniel Theis started in his place. Derrick White
returned after missing Game 2 to be at the birth of his first child.
The Heat forced 24 turnovers in all to lead to 33 Miami points. The Heat also
had nine turnovers that led to nine Celtics points. ... Miami's bench outscored
Boston's 26-16. ... The Heat shot 64% in the first quarter, but finished at
46.7%. ... Penn State coach and former Celtics assistant Micah Shrewsberry and
Providence College coach Ed Cooley were both in attendance.
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