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

The Miami Heat stormed to a 26-point lead over the Boston Celtics in Game 3 on Saturday night, but held on to a 109-103 win over TD Garden after a furious home team rally in the second half after Jimmy Butler was ruled out of the game. game with a knee infection. Ultimately, Butler’s absence during the final two quarters wasn’t enough for Boston to make the comeback, as Bam Adebayo capped off the win with a team-high 31 points to go along with 10 rebounds, six assists and four steals.

At 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 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 strongly off the field and only 3-out -14 before the night ended. †

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

Here are four key points from the game:

1. Injuries are back in focus

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

The problem only got worse on Saturday, when Smart, Jayson Tatum and Jimmy Butler all made their way to the locker room at different points. Most notably, Butler did not play in the second half due to a knee infection. However, he should be fine to move forward. Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra said he doesn’t need an MRI, and per USA Today, Butler won’t miss any more time

Smart and Tatum actually returned to the game, despite their injuries appearing to be more serious. Early in the second quarter, Smart suffered a nasty ankle sprain that got worse when Lowry accidentally rolled over his leg. Later, Tatum received a sting while struggling over a loose ball and was left in severe pain for several minutes. After the game, Celtics head coach Ime Udoka said Smart and Tatum should both be good to move forward.

2. Adebayo appears

Bam Adebayo made his third consecutive All-Defensive team appearance this season and would have been an All-Star and possibly even the Defensive Player of the Year had he not missed an extended play with a thumb injury. In the first two games of this series, however, he was largely invisible, finishing with a total of 16 points, 13 rebounds and three assists.

That all changed in Game 3. Adebayo came out as a man on a mission. He demanded the ball early and often, hitting a series of mid-range jumpers and shots around the edge. He nearly tied his tally of the first two games in the first quarter of this as he had 12 points to help the Heat build an early double-digit lead.

Late in the game, with Butler out of the commission, he resigned. He scored eight points in the fourth quarter to hold off the Celtics’ comeback attempt, including a stunning off-balance jumper to beat the shot clock with 1:23 left. That shot pushed the Heat’s lead back to six, eventually becoming the dagger.

By the final buzzer, Adebayo had 31 points, 10 rebounds, six assists and four steals in by far his best postseason performance. The Heat will need Adebayo to play that way if they want to get the job done against the Celtics — especially if Butler isn’t 100 percent.

3. Lowry makes an impression 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. As it turned out, he was ready for Game 3 and his return came at the perfect time for the Heat.

While Lowry is far from at his peak, he is still a vital part of this Heat team. This was an exemplary performance by Lowry, as his stats weren’t that impressive — 11 points, one rebound, six assists, four steals on 4-for-11 shooting — but he finished plus-10. came up with timely actions and got the Heat under control.

A good example was his steal with 48 seconds to go. As the rest of the Heat pulled back on a free throw made, Lowry came flying in to steal a lazy inbound pass from Grant Williams, finding Max Strus for a layup that ended any hopes the Celtics had left. still had.

The Heat is just better when Lowry is on the floor.

4. Celtics have only themselves to blame

The Heat were great to start this game and they deserve a lot of credit for how they started and then kept it up without Jimmy Butler. That said, the Celtics could and probably should have won this game. They had 16 more free throws, Butler didn’t play in the second half and they had narrowed the deficit to one, but they couldn’t pull it off and they only have themselves to blame.

Again, the biggest problems were turnover and careless play. They were neither focused nor ready to match the intensity of the Heat to start the game, which should never happen in the Eastern Conference final. And while they eventually got back into the game, they never really settled down.

They had a whopping 23 sales, including 13 from Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown — the most the two have ever combined in a game together. The Heat profited in a significant way, scoring 33 points — more than 30 percent of their total offense — of that turnover. In a game they lost by just six, the Celtics gave the Heat 33 points.

In addition to the turnover, the Celtics got another dud from Tatum, who finished with just 10 points to equal their lowest-scoring game of the postseason. He shot 3-for-14 from the field and had twice as many turnovers as baskets made. And then his shoulder injury has not been taken into account. Tatum has been spectacular in the playoffs at times, but he’s prone to these nightmarish games that the Celtics can’t afford. If he does an equally decent performance, they win this game.

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