The Boston Celtics got off to a strong start, finishing 31-22 ahead of the Miami Heat after the first quarter.
Tyler Herro had himself a crazy second quarter to keep the Heat close, scoring 16 points in the period thanks to hot shooting.
The Celtics had great success defending the Heat, though, and converted a number of easy fast-break opportunities to take a lead that had been whittled down to 51-48 to a 63-50 advantage at halftime. They outscored the Heat 34-10 in the paint in the first half.
Jaylen Brown led the Celtics at the half with 17 points, bolstered by 13 from Jayson Tatum and 12 from Kemba Walker.
Boston didn’t step off the gas in the second quarter, pushing their lead to 76-58 with 7:12 left in the third quarter.
The Heat cut the lead to 82-73 with 1:08 left in the third quarter, but the Celtics answered strong, and brought an 89-74 lead into the fourth quarter.
Miami couldn’t get it going in the first three quarters and needed to summon their trademark grit and hustle to get back into the game.
It didn’t start well for them, as the Celtics pushed their advantage to 20 points. The Heat got it back down to 104-94 with 3:27 remaining and got it within 109-101 with a little over a minute left in the game.
However, the Heat did get it close again toward the end of the game.
Brown was called for a flagrant foul with 1:03 left on the clock, which allowed the Heat to get two free throws and keep possession. Duncan Robinson split the free throws to make it 109-102 and Bam Adebayo cut it to 109-104 with a big layup.
A worrying sign came for the Heat as Jimmy Butler checked himself out of the game 46.9 seconds. He was still standing so it’s unsure if there was an injury problem that forced him out.
The Celtics led the entire game and took Game 3 117-106.
Gordon Hayward came back for the first time in almost five weeks and contributed six points in 30 minutes of action.
Tatum stuffed the stat sheet again with 25 points, 14 rebounds, and eight assists. Brown was excellent too with 26 points, seven rebounds, five assists, three steals and a block.
Walker had an important effect on the game as well with 21 points and six assists.