NBA playoffs

Tatum, Celtics stifle Heat, take back home-court edge


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Tatum, Celtics stifle Heat, take back home-court edge

TEAM EFFORT. Celtics forward Jayson Tatum passes the ball to Celtics center Al Horford in Game 3 against the Heat.

Jim Rassol/USA TODAY Sports/Reuters

‘It's the simple things that you have to do under a high level of stress, high level of adversity,’ says Boston coach Joe Mazzulla as the No. 1 Celtics reclaim the series lead against the Heat

Jayson Tatum posted 22 points, 11 rebounds, and 6 assists as the visiting Boston Celtics regained home-court advantage in this first-round playoff series, routing the Miami Heat, 104-84, in Game 3 on Saturday night, April 27 (Sunday, April 28, Manila time).

Boston, the NBA’s top seed, leads the best-of-seven series 2-1 with Game 4 set for Monday, April 29, in Miami.

After losing Game 2 in Boston, the Celtics never trailed in this battle against the eighth-seeded Heat.

“We didn’t make too many adjustments,” Boston coach Joe Mazzulla said. 

“We played a little bit harder, we played harder and we dictated the physicality and the tempo of the game. It’s the simple things that you have to do under a high level of stress, high level of adversity.”

The Celtics also got 22 points from Jaylen Brown, who added 8 rebounds.

Kristaps Porzingis added 18 points, 5 rebounds, and 2 blocks for the Celtics while Derrick White added 16 points.

Jrue Holiday – Boston’s fifth starter – was a game-high plus-23 despite scoring just 3 points. He did have 6 assists.

The Heat again played without injured standouts Jimmy Butler (knee) and Terry Rozier (neck). Those two have combined to average 40.6 points per game this season.

Miami struggled to score without them, though Bam Adebayo led the Heat with 20 points and 9 rebounds. Nikola Jovic and Tyler Herro added 15 points each.

“That’s where we’re going to win games, on the defensive end,” Tatum said.

Boston, backed by its tenacious defense, led Miami 21-12 after one quarter. The Celtics held the Heat to 23.8% shooting in the period, including 1-of-9 on three-pointers.

“They took us out of stuff we would like to get to,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. “They were the more physical team. They bodied us, bullied us on screens, got through stuff, distorted screens, everything… You have to credit them for that.”

The Celtics put the game away with a sizzling second quarter, shooting 65.2% from the floor (including 5-of-11 from deep), and holding an 18-6 advantage on points in the paint.

For the first half, Tatum had 15 points, including 13 in the second quarter. White had all 12 of his points in the second quarter and Porzingis also had 12 first-half points.

Herro led Miami with 10 first-half points, but he shot just 3-of-11.

Boston extended its lead to 87-61 after three quarters. Brown had 8 points to lead all third-quarter scorers.

The Celtics cruised in the fourth quarter, and they finished the game shooting 47.6% from the floor, including 11-of-37 from deep (29.7%).

Miami shot 41.6%, including 9-of-28 on three-pointers (32.1%).

“From the jump, they were more aggressive than us,” Jovic said. “That shouldn’t be happening.”


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