Well, it seems that Boston learned their lesson from Game 2. They built a 17 point lead in the second quarter of that game, but that wasn’t enough to put the Heat down for the count. Here, in Game 3, Boston led first and never let up. Sure, they built some leads and then let Miami chip away at it, but not once was the game even tied after the opening.
The game may have been decided late in the second quarter. With 3:22 to go, Tyler Herro buried a three for the Heat that pulled them within three, 51-48. Boston then scored the next nine points of the game while finishing the half on a 12-2 run to make it a 13 point game at halftime. Boston would keep that lead in double digits for almost all of the third quarter, and then closed that period with a 7-1 run after Miami had slipped back within nine points.
In the fourth quarter, Boston would eventually build their largest lead of the game, going up 20 on a Marcus Smart and-1 with 7:13 to go. This was the culmination of what happened late in the second quarter, and thus Boston had put things away.
At least, that’s how we get to look at it after the fact. After all, Bam Adebayo scored with 55.9 to play to make it a 109-104 ball game. Five points and a minute to play? That’s far from over. Unfortunately, it seems that merely getting it there took everything Miami had. Smart hit two free throws, Herro missed a three, Boston got the rebound as the ball went out of bounds, and that was that.
Jayson Tatum was the star of the game with 25/14/8 to lead Boston to the win. Jaylen Brown added 26, while Kemba Walker (21) and Marcus Smart (20) both cleared the 20 point barrier as well. I wonder if the other four starters poked fun at Daniel Theis (8 points) after the game.
Bam Adebayo was the stat leader for Miami, getting 27 points and 16 rebounds in the loss. Jimmy Butler went for 17 points, eight rebounds, three assists, and two blocks, while Jae Crowder had 10 points, six rebounds, five assists, a steal, and a block. It’s not the reason why Miami lost, but Crowder going 2-for-10 from long range while the team shot 38.8% was not particularly helpful, either.
Up Next: We’re off til Wednesday! It seems that ESPN has the rights to the Eastern Finals, and that means if the NBA wants the game on ESPN Prime, then they have to skip Monday due to Monday Night Football. Miami will look for a 3-1 lead in the series with a 7:30pm Central time tipoff.