Gabe Vincent, Heat thrash Celtics for 3-0 series lead
Field Level Media
May 22, 2023
The Miami Heat shot the lights out and left the Boston Celtics in the dark on Sunday in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference finals.
Another performance like that in Game 4 on Tuesday in Miami and the eighth-seeded Heat will advance to the NBA Finals for the second time in four seasons.
Gabe Vincent scored a career-high 29 points in Miami's 128-102 victory over visiting Boston on Sunday.
Vincent made 11 of 14 shots from the floor -- including 6 of 9 from 3-point range -- and Duncan Robinson and Caleb Martin scored 22 and 18 points off the bench, respectively.
Jimmy Butler collected 16 points, eight rebounds and six assists for the Heat, who shot a blistering 56.8 percent from the field (46 of 81) and 54.3 percent from 3-point range (19 of 35). Miami improved to 6-0 at home in the playoffs.
"That was a solid, mature, professional approach," Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. "There is a lot of pent-up stuff here and we're getting closer, but we still have to finish this off."
Bam Adebayo scored 13 points and Max Strus added 10 as the Heat seized control of the contest by outscoring the second-seeded Celtics by a 32-17 margin in the third quarter.
"The game was as big as an ocean for everybody," Adebayo said.
Boston's Jayson Tatum recorded 14 points and 10 rebounds and Jaylen Brown scored 12 points, although the pair combined to make just 12 of 35 shots from the floor and 1 of 14 from 3-point range.
"Collectively we can point fingers, but in reality, it was just embarrassing," Brown said.
The Celtics have their backs against the wall. No team in NBA history has overcome a 3-0 deficit to win a series.
"I just didn't have them ready to play," Boston coach Joe Mazzulla said. "Whatever it was, whether it was the starting lineup or it was an adjustment, I have to get them in a better place to play -- that's on me."
Boston whittled a 22-point deficit down to 12 at 61-49 after Marcus Smart converted a three-point play to start the third quarter. Miami answered with a 28-9 run to seize control of the game, highlighted by a pair of 3-pointers by Vincent.
The Heat carried a 93-63 lead into the fourth quarter before both teams opted to rest their stars. Vincent sandwiched 3-pointers around a three-point play and Robinson converted from beyond the arc to extend Miami's advantage to 112-83 with 4:43 to play.
Miami claimed a 61-46 lead at halftime after shooting a sizzling 57.5 percent from the floor (23 of 40) and 45 percent from 3-point range (9 of 20). Martin sank a trio of 3-pointers to highlight his 11-point performance, while Robinson and Vincent each made a pair from beyond the arc to finish with 10 points apiece.
Miami's Kevin Love scored five quick points to start the game before exiting after five minutes with an ankle injury. He did not return.
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