Sunday, April 28, 2024

Celtics 104, Heat 84: Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown lead C's in wire-to-wire Game 3 win [BOS leads series, 2-1]

The Celtics bounced back to beat the Miami Heat 104-84 in Game 3 Saturday night at Kaseya Center and take a 2-1 best-of-7 series lead.

Jayson Tatum (11 rebounds) and Jaylen Brown (eight rebounds) each led the wire-to-wire victory with 22 points respectively, while Kristaps Porzinigis finished with 18 points and Derrick White added 16 points for Boston -- who re-gained home-court advantage after their 111-101 loss in Game 2.
"We didn't make too many adjustments," C's coach Joe Mazzulla said. "We played a little bit harder, we played harder and we dictated the physicality and the tempo of the game. It's the simple things that you have to do under a high level of stress, high level of adversity. I thought our guys did a great job of dictating that tonight."
Bam Adebayo had 20 points, nine rebounds, while rookie Nikola Jovic (eight rebounds) and Tyler Herro each chipped in 15 point apiece for Miami, playing without Jimmy Butler (MCL sprain) and Terry Rozier (neck). It was the second time in this first-round matchup they have failed to reach 95 points.

Boston once again didn't trail in this one, just as they didn't in their 104-94 win in Game 1 at TD Garden due to another great defensive effort -- limiting the Heat to just 41.6% shooting from the field, including only 9-of-28 from 3-point range.
"Just mindset," Brown said in his postgame presser. "We put an emphasis on defense, trying to make them uncomfortable a little bit ... and I think that opened up the game."
Aside from being the No. 1 overall seed in playoffs, the Celtics were 15-4 this season in games immediately following a loss with a margin of victory being 12.2 points per contest.
"They took us out of stuff we would like to get to," Heat coach Erik Spoelstra told reporters. "They were the more physical team. They bodied us, bullied us on screens, got through stuff, distorted screens, everything. ... You have to credit them for that. They were the more physical team, the team with more physicality and force on both ends of the court."
The C's jumped out to a 21-12 lead to open the game and never looked back, as they used 20-8 run to start the second quarter and took a 63-39 advantage into the break, before it ballooned to a 29-point deficit for Miami in the third period -- the largest of the night.
"That's where we're going to win games, on the defensive end," Tatum said in his postgame comments.
The Celtics will look to take a commanding 3-1 series lead on Monday night when Game 4 tips-off on TNT at 7:30 pm ET.

Game Notes:

Boston hit 47.6% from the field, including 11-of-37 (29.7%) from 3-point territory, while the Heat were 32.1% from long distance. The C's won the rebound battle 43-36 and outscored the home team 42-34 in the paint. The Celtics dished out 22 assists (six turnovers) on 39 baskets to Miami's 21 dimes (12 turnovers) on 32 made shots.

Joel Pavón

Photo used courtesy of The Associated Press

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