Celtics crush Heat 104-84 to take 2-1 lead in first-round playoff series

Season-low in points scored for Miami
Boston Celtics forward Jayson Tatum goes up for shot against Miami Heat forward Nikola Jovic during first half, April 27, 2024
Posted at 9:09 PM, Apr 27, 2024

MIAMI — Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown each scored 22 points, and the Boston Celtics soundly beat the Miami Heat 104-84 on Saturday night to take a 2-1 lead in their Eastern Conference first-round playoff series.

Tatum added 10 rebounds and six assists for the Celtics, who led Game 3 wire-to-wire and reclaimed the home-court edge that they lost when Miami won Game 2 in Boston. Kristaps Porzingis had 18 points and Derrick White scored 16 for the Celtics, who used runs of 12-3, 11-0 and 20-8 in the first half to take full control.

Bam Adebayo scored 20 points for eighth-seeded Miami, which remains without starters Jimmy Butler and Terry Rozier because of injuries. Nikola Jovic and Tyler Herro each scored 15 for the Heat, who got 12 from Jaime Jaquez Jr.

Game 4 is Monday in Miami, where the Celtics are 9-2 in their last 11 games and 6-1 in their last seven playoff games.

Miami Heat center Bam Adebayo goes up for shot against Boston Celtics forward Kristaps Porzingis during second half, April 27, 2024
Miami Heat center Bam Adebayo goes up for a shot against Boston Celtics forward Kristaps Porzingis during the second half of Game 3 of an Eastern Conference first-round playoff series, Saturday, April 27, 2024, in Miami.

It was a season-low in points scored for Miami and a season-low in points allowed for Boston.

Bounce-back efforts have been a trend for Boston this season. The Celtics — the No. 1 overall seed in the playoffs — don't lose often, and when they do, they tend to just come out and win their next one. Boston is now 15-4 in the game immediately following a loss this season, its average victory margin in those games 12.2 points.

Boston never trailed in Game 1, a 114-94 win, and never trailed in Game 3 either, on its way to beating Miami for the fifth time in six meetings this season. The Celtics started slowly and Miami started slower, Boston leading 21-12 after one and setting the tone for how nothing would come easily for the Heat.

It was Miami's lowest-scoring first quarter in its last 197 games, dating back to the 2022 playoffs — also against Boston when the Heat managed 11 points in the opening 12 minutes of Game 4 of that East finals series.

Midway through the second quarter, it — briefly — seemed like Miami had weathered the storm. The Heat were making a bit of a run, the building had some life and Herro had a look at a 3-pointer that would have gotten the Heat within 10.

It rimmed out. The storm was not weathered. It was, in fact, just starting.

The Celtics outscored Miami 20-8 in the next 4 ½ minutes to go up 61-36, and that was when a good number of fans decided to head for halftime refreshments a bit early. It was 63-39 at the break, Boston dominant in every which way — a 19-2 edge in points off turnovers, a 26-12 scoring edge in the paint, 27-15 in rebounds, 13-6 in assists.

The lead reached 29 in the second half, Miami never getting closer than 18 after halftime.