NBA Conference Finals

Bam Adebayo shines as Heat hold off Celtics in Game 3

Bam Adebayo shines as Heat hold off Celtics in Game 3

TOP GUNS. Heat's Jimmy Butler drives against the Celtics' Jayson Tatum in first-half action.

David Butler II/USA TODAY Sports/Reuters

Even with Miami star Jimmy Butler sidelined in the second half, the Heat arrest the Celtics’ comeback bid for a 2-1 series lead

Bam Adebayo recorded 31 points, 10 rebounds, 6 assists, and 4 steals to lead the Miami Heat to a 109-103 victory over the host Boston Celtics on Saturday night, May 21 (Sunday, May 22, Manila time) in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference finals.

PJ Tucker contributed 17 points and 7 rebounds and Max Strus scored 16 points as the Heat took a 2-1 lead in the best-of-seven series.

Miami prevailed despite Jimmy Butler missing the second half due to right knee inflammation. Butler scored 8 points in 20 minutes.

Jaylen Brown set a personal playoff high with 40 points and also collected 9 rebounds for the Celtics, who committed 24 turnovers. Al Horford added 20 points and 14 rebounds.

Game 4 is Monday night in Boston.

Kyle Lowry returned from a hamstring injury for the Heat and recorded 11 points, 6 assists, and 4 steals. Miami had 19 steals overall.

Marcus Smart had 16 points and 7 assists for Boston despite briefly leaving the game in the third quarter with a sprained right ankle. He returned just over four minutes later.

Jayson Tatum had just 10 points on 3-of-14 shooting and committed 6 turnovers. He left with a right shoulder injury in the fourth quarter but returned less than two minutes later.

The Celtics played without Robert Williams III (left knee).

Miami led by 13 with 6:30 left before Boston responded with 12 consecutive points. Brown scored 10 of them, including a three-pointer that cut the Heat’s lead to 93-92 with 2:40 to play.

Miami suddenly reawakened as Strus drained a three-pointer, Adebayo hit a jumper and Tucker made two free throws to make it 100-92 with 1:07 left.

Boston was unable to get closer than six the rest of the way.

The Heat shot 46.7% from the field, including 11-of-31 from three-point range. Miami committed 9 turnovers.

The Celtics made 48.6% of their attempts and were 12-of-32 from behind the arc.

The Heat led by 15 when Butler was ruled out – Victor Oladipo started the second half in his place – and still led by that margin (87-72) when the third quarter concluded.

Adebayo hit another jumper 41 seconds into the fourth before Boston rattled off 8 straight points to move within 9 with 8:53 left. He later scored on a dunk with 7:16 left to get the Miami lead back into double digits and Tucker added a basket 46 seconds later to make it 93-80.

Adebayo scored 12 first-quarter points as Miami sprinted out to a 39-18 advantage. The Heat led 62-47 at the break. –

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