The Boston Celtics had absolutely no answer for the Miami Heat in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference finals on Sunday night and were dealt a 128-102 drubbing at Kaseya Center.
The Celtics have fallen into an insurmountable 3-0 series hole — no team in NBA history has ever overcome such a deficit in a best-of-seven series.
Check out the full box score here.
ONE BIG TAKEAWAY
The Heat have completely broken the Celtics.
The Celtics have been a shell of themselves in this series, especially Sunday with the Heat running them out of the building. And it comes on both ends of the court. Miami eviscerated a Boston defense that showed zero resistance as the Heat shot 56.8% from the floor for the game. This time it wasn’t Jimmy Butler alone carving up the Celtics, either. Instead, Miami’s supporting cast led by Gabe Vincent torched the Celtics time and time again.
The defensive play is vastly different compared to what the Celtics displayed last year under Ime Udoka. The Celtics and Joe Mazzulla made it clear after losing to the Golden State Warriors that they were prioritizing offense over defense and it certainly shows.
Boston’s offense was just as bad as it put up its lowest-scoring output of the playoffs in the first half. The Celtics spacing looks way off and the Heat have taken away what Boston does best, which is shoot 3-pointers. Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown were the poster boys for the Celtics’ 3-point woes as they combined to hit 1-of-14 shots from beyond the arc.
In practically a must-win situation, the Celtics wilted against the Heat and turned in arguably their most pathetic performance of the season.
STARS OF THE GAME
— Vincent stepped up for the Heat by netting a playoff career-high 29 points on 11-for-14 shooting. He connected on six 3-pointers as the Heat shot 54.3% (19-for-35) from downtown.
— Caleb Martin was immense off the bench again. He scored 18 points to go along with four assists and three rebounds. Martin also finished with a game-high plus-34 rating.
— Robert Williams showed the most consistent effort out of anyone on the Celtics. He recorded eight points and eight rebounds, six of which were of the offensive variety.
Al Horford had struggled mightily from beyond the arc, hitting just three of his last 22 3-point attempts entering the contest. With that in mind, FanDuel Sportsbook set Horford’s over/under for made triples at 1.5 with -108 odds on the Over. Horford knocked down two treys in the first half to hit the Over as a $100 wager would have netted a total of $192.59.
The Miami Heat will bring their brooms to Kaseya Center on Tuesday night looking to close out the Boston Celtics and advance to the NBA Finals. Tipoff for Game 4 is scheduled for 8:30 p.m. ET.