The Miami Heat are one win away from reaching the NBA Finals.
The Heat stole two games at TD Garden to start the series before defeating the Boston Celtics in South Florida on Sunday night. The Heat beat the Celtics 128-102 to lead the series 3-0 in the Eastern Conference Finals and are on the verge of reaching their first NBA Finals since 2020.
“As you can see, the rim was as big as the ocean for everyone,” Heat star Bam Adebayo told TNT.
The Heat showed good progress in the first half and temporarily took a 21-point lead in the second quarter. Boston rebounded a bit, closing the gap to 15 points at halftime, but it was still the Celtics’ biggest halftime lead to date this postseason. Their 46 points is also the lowest score in the first half of the playoffs to date. The Celtics managed to survive.
It didn’t improve in the second half. The Heat opened the third quarter with a big 28-10 victory. Just like that, they beat him by 33 points, which equaled their maximum lead all season. Nothing worked for Boston, who scored just 17 points in the period, but the Heat made the most of it.
By then, the game was practically over. With both teams resting starters for the remainder of the game, the Heat held on to a 26-point victory to take a 3-0 series lead.
‘We weren’t ready to play them,’ says Celtics coach Joe Mazura Said. “It should have been. Whatever it is…I have to get them ready to play in a better place. It’s my responsibility.”
Jayson Tatum led the Celtics with just 14 points. He added 10 rebounds but made only 6-of-18 field goals. Jaylen Brown finished with 12 points. They were the only two Celtics players to reach double figures. He’s also made 7-of-40 combined from the back of the arc so far in the series against Miami and made just one 3-pointer total on Sunday night. As a team, Boston made 6-of-31 from the 3-point line.
Mazzura then made a somewhat shocking confession. He lost the Celtics locker room.
Gabe Vincent led the Heat with 29 points. He made 6-of-9 shooting from the 3-point line. Duncan Robinson and Caleb Martin combined for 40 points off the bench, while Jimmy Butler had 16 points, eight rebounds and six assists.
As a team, the Heat shot more than 54% from the 3-point line and shot nearly 57% from the field. Miami is also the first No. 8 seed in league history to win a playoff game by more than 25 points.
Game 4 of the series is scheduled for Tuesday night in Miami. If the Celtics don’t show up again, the Heat may be looking for a clean sweep to reach the Finals just as they failed Sunday night. Even if they didn’t win on Tuesday, no team in NBA history has managed to bounce back from a 3-0 deficit.