Celtics vs. Heat score, takeaways: Bam Adebayo leads Miami to a decisive victory in Game 3 despite the loss of Jimmy Butler

The Miami Heat stormed out to a 26-point lead over the Boston Celtics in Game 3 Saturday night, only to hold on to a 109-103 victory over TD Garden after a furious rally from the home team in the second half after Jimmy Butler had been out of the game with knee inflammation. In the end, Butler’s absence in the last two quarters was not enough for Boston to make the comeback as Bam Adebayo finished the win with 31 points left 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 for 36 points, 18 rebounds and 10 assists, the Celtics were unable to overcome a bad shooting night from Jayson Tatum as the All-Star struggled fiercely from the field and finished only 3-to-14 for the night .

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

Here are four important things from the game:

Injuries come again in the center

Unfortunately, it has been impossible to talk about this postseason, and this series in particular, without discussing injuries. Marcus Smart, Al Horford, Derrick White and Robert Williams all have missed a match in this series for the Celticswhile Kyle Lowry did not play in the first two games for the Heat.

The problem only got worse on Saturday when Smart, Jayson Tatum and Jimmy Butler all came to the locker room at different times. Most notably, Butler did not play in the second half due to knee inflammation. However, he should be okay going forward. Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra said he does not need an MRI, and according to USA Today, Butler will not miss any more time.

Smart and Tatum actually returned to the game, despite the fact that their injuries seemed more serious. Early in the second quarter, Smart suffered an ugly ankle sprain that got worse as Lowry inadvertently rolled over his legs. Later, Tatum received a stab during a race for a loose ball and was down for a few minutes in severe pain. After the match, Celtics head coach Ime Udoka said Smart and Tatum should both be good at moving forward.

2. Adebayo shows up

Bam Adebayo appeared for the third time in the All-Defensive team this season, and would have been an All-Star and potentially even the Defensive Player of the Year if he did not miss an extended stretch with a thumb injury. In the first two games of this series, however, he was largely invisible and finished with a total of 16 points, 13 rebounds and three assists.

It all changed in Game 3. Adebayo came out as a man on a mission. He demanded the ball early and often and hit a series of mid-range jumpers and shots around the rim. He almost matched his total from the first two games in the first quarter of this one as he had 12 points to help the Heat build an early double-digit lead.

Late in the game, with Butler out of commission, he stepped up again. He scored eight points in the fourth quarter to hold the Celtics’ comeback attempt, including a stunning off-balance jumper that struck the shot clock back 1:23. That shot pushed Heats’ lead up to six and ended up being the dagger.

At the final buzzer, Adebayo had 31 points, 10 rebounds, six assists and four steals in his clearly best performance of the entire off-season. The Heat will need Adebayo to play like this if they want to finish the job against the Celtics – especially if Butler is not 100 percent.

3. Lowry makes an impact in his return

Kyle Lowry had not 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 could be back. It turned out he was ready for Game 3, and his return came at the perfect time for the Heat.

Although Lowry is far from his peak, he is still a vital part of this Heat team. This was a prototypical Lowry performance as his stats weren’t that impressive – 11 points, a rebound, six assists, four steals on 4-of-11 shooting – but he ended up plus-10. came with timely play and got the heat under control.

One example was his stealing with 48 seconds left. While the rest of the Heat withdrew after a made free throw, Lowry came flying in to steal a lazy inbound pass from Grant Williams, then found Max Strus for a layup that ended any hopes the Celtics still had.

The heat is only better when Lowry is on the floor.

4. The Celtics have only themselves to blame

The Heat were terrific at starting this game, and deserve a lot of credit for how they started and then managed to hold on without Jimmy Butler. That said, the Celtics could and should have won this match. They shot 16 more free throws, Butler did not play in the second half and they had a deficit down to one, but they could not get it done and they only have themselves to blame.

Once again, the biggest problems were turnovers and careless play. They were not focused or ready to match Heats’ intensity to start the match, which was never to happen at home in the Eastern Conference finals. And while they did eventually return to the game, they never really calmed down.

They had a total of 23 turnovers, including 13 from Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown – the most the two have ever combined for in a game together. The Heat took great advantage and scored 33 points – over 30 percent of their total attack – of these turnovers. In a match they lost by just six, the Celtics Heat gave up 33 points.

In addition to the turnover, the Celtics got another dud from Tatum, who finished with only 10 points to equalize his lowest scoring game in the off-season. He shot 3-of-14 from the field and had twice as many turnovers as made baskets. And it does not even take into account his shoulder injury. Tatum has been spectacular at times in the playoffs, but he is prone to those nightmare games that the Celtics cannot afford. If he has an equally halfway decent performance, they win this match.

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