Heat Alert: Miami beats Boston 109-103 for 2-1 series lead
Boston, May 22 (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 26-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.
“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 came any closer.
Game 4 is Monday night in Boston.
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.
After losing Game 2 at home by 25 points, the Heat led 62-37 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 Miami when it 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.