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Celtics warned that Heat would take the first bat in Game 3 and they still weren't prepared

The Celtics' veterans advised the team to be wary of a Heat counterattack early in Game 3, and the Cs still weren't ready for the Heat's first shot. (Author: Gardener)

Game 3BOSTON — The Celtics' veterans were saying all the right things in anticipation of a crucial Game 3 against the Heat, according to C coach Ime Udoka. The Celtics had just beaten the Miami Heat in Game 2 and stole home field advantage to tie the Eastern Conference Finals by a game apiece. When the series moved to Boston's TD Garden, the vets warned her team to "be prepared, knowing they're going to come out with their best hit," Udoka said. Those words came from the likes of Marcus Smart, Al Horford, Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum - the undisputed leaders of the team. The right words were said ... then it came to the actual game. The Celtics could not match the physicality of the Heat and never led in a 109-103 loss in Game 3 on Saturday. At the end of an awkward first quarter in which they were edged 39-18, the Celtics heard boos from one Garden crowd as juiced as possible before the game. "We didn't think that it would suddenly become an easy series and they would fall over themselves," said Udoka. “We bounced back from Game 1 to Game 2 and they wanted to do the same. We had to match that and for some reason came out flat.” The Heat didn't just throw the first shot on Saturday; They continued to attack the Celtics until there was no doubt about their intentions. They were up in double digits just minutes into the game as the Celtics ran out of answers in another embarrassing quarter. Bam Adebayo, who had a double-double with 31 points and 10 rebounds, said the Celtics "beat us like they stole something" in Game 2. Of course that would wake up the Heat, he said, and they clearly wanted to send a message. Just like the C's predicted - it was just that Boston still didn't have an answer. The Celtics still have a chance to bounce back and win Game 4 to tie the series 2-2. It's not the first time they've faced similar adversities; look no further than their comeback series win over the Bucks just a week ago. The C's haven't lost consecutive games since March 30, and there's a reason for that, as they've shown a killer instinct that comes from losses. But the Celtics were prone to errors - especially in games that aren't strictly must-play games. They recorded 24 turnovers in Game 3 and the only reason the Celtics were in the game was a huge free throw disparity against the Heat. "It seemed like we were slacking off under their pressure and started complaining to the refs and taking ourselves out of the game from the start," Udoka said. "But it's disappointing to come out so flat in a conference endgame." Even when the C's were close to a comeback in the fourth quarter, they let the game slip away on their turnovers. It didn't help that Tatum had one of his worst games of the postseason while the starting lineup came together for a staggering 22 giveaways. The Celtics will likely come out in Game 4 and play the role of the hunted - much like the Heat did in Game 3. The C's showed their mental toughness as they blew out the Heat in Game 2; they did that all season. None of those things are off the table at this point, even with the C's trailing 2-1 against the Heat No. 1 and earning home field advantage. However, if the Celtics are to pursue those championship aspirations, they need to cut back on the mistakes they made in these playoffs. Instead, it's arguably becoming a trend where the Celtics play large chunks of the game well but let the game slip in a disastrous stretch. "We started flat," Brown said. "It seemed like we looked around too much instead of playing the game. But we didn't reach their intensity from the start."

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Bam Adebayo shows He Is Heat's "heart and soul" in Game 3 Win

Despite an injury to Jimmy Butler, Miami took the series lead in the Eastern Conference Finals thanks to a career night out of its Star Center in Boston. (Author: Gardener)

Bam AdebayoDespite an injury to Jimmy Butler, Miami took the series lead in the Eastern Conference Finals thanks to a career night out of its Star Center in Boston. In an Eastern Conference final marred by key absences (Marcus Smart, Kyle Lowry, Al Horford, Rob Williams III and now perhaps Jimmy Butler), dramatic returns to the floor and all the unpredictability that lies in between, healthy stars Showing off your own brilliance is somehow more important than it already is. For Miami, that was Game 3 Bam Adebayo, a matchup nightmare who, when at his best, can subtly and distinctly dominate all areas of a basketball game. After opening the series with a pair of duds, it was clear the Heat couldn't advance unless their center started influencing the action with more force. "We want him to be more involved and I have to do better than that," said Heat coach Erik Spoesltra on Saturday morning. Hours later, Adebayo had the most impressive and important night of his career: 31 points on 22 shots (five more than his previous career high), 10 rebounds, six assists, four steals and a turnover. The Heat surpassed Boston by the game's best 17 points with Adebayo on the floor. "I saw him play great basketball in the playoffs," Spoelstra said when asked after the game if he'd ever seen Adebayo play better considering the stakes (on the road in the Conference Finals , after a blowout loss at home) and circumstances (Butler missed the entire second half with a knee injury). He's a winning player. Playing winning basketball. Tonight we needed the goal and we needed that attacking shot early on. Then when Jimmy dropped out in the second half, he just stabilized us. It got a little gnarly out there and when it did we were able to get the ball to Bam and just get something coherent. The tone was set a few minutes into the first quarter when he came down the court and hit Horford with an in-and-out crossover that ended with a running lefty layup. It didn't matter who was in front of him, whether Horford, Daniel Theis, Grant Williams, Smart, Jaylen Brown, or whoever needed to stop his aggression. Adebayo's power was reminiscent of the last time Miami reached the Conference Finals. In 2020, against a smaller, less resilient Celtics squad, he averaged 21.8 points, 11.0 rebounds and 5.2 assists, including a masterful 32-point, 14-rebound and 5-assist game in 6, that threw the Celtics out of the bubble. Offensively, Adebayo hadn't grabbed a playoff series in the same way before Game 3 of this conference finals. This production breakout show set a standard for Adebayo that, fair or not, has allowed some criticism to water down less spectacular games in Miami's last two postseasons. When the Heat needed this Bam to potentially salvage their season, he did. All night, Adebayo was the very best version of his almost incomparable self. He attacked, setting up dozens of screens, wreaking havoc on defense and putting the icing on the cake with 1:21 left by pumping Horford in the air and then nailing a 17-foot jumper as the shot clock ran out . "I've seen Bam play like this a lot," said heat guard Max Strus. Adebayo finished 13 for 15 in the suit and a perfect 6 for 6 in the restricted area. It's just one game in a back-and-forth attrition battle, but this version of Adebayo burns up the cap Miami had before and, if sustained, completely changes the calculus of that particular series. The words "assertive" were used to describe Bam's game by every member of the Heat organization who spoke after it ended. This isolated work did not exist earlier in the series. "Same old game calling," Bam said of the difference between Games 1 and 2 and 3. Slowing down Adebayo when those shots come while watching him dictate dangerous dribbling handoff moves off his elbows is disheartening . But the Celtics already bottled him in two games. It's not easy to humiliate them two games in a row. "Adebayo put his shoulder in the chest of whoever was guarding him so Rob [Williams] can't save the day that far," said Celtics coach Ime Udoka. Every game is its own story in a playoff series. Adebayo wrote Saturday night and how the Celtics react will go a long way in deciding who prevails.

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6 takeaways as Celtic's ugly injury-plagued Game 3 vs Heat dropped

The Celtics lost a winnable Game 3 to the Heat on Sunday, losing 109-103 despite a series of advantages. Read more at Boston.com. (Author: Gardener)

Game 3The Celtics have had some tough, hard-fought victories since the start of the postseason, but nothing quite like what the Heat achieved in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Finals on Saturday. The Heat were without Jimmy Butler in the second half after Butler sat down with a knee infection (post-game Chris Haynes reported Butler was doing well, which seems at least a little unlikely given that an insanely competitive player accounted for 24 of the game's greatest minutes sat season). The officials gave the Celtics a 30-14 advantage on free throw attempts, which was even greater before the Celtics fouled the stretch. The Heat didn't even shoot very well - 11-to-33 from deep from a hot start. The Celtics won or equalized the final three quarters after a disastrous opening stretch that saw the Heat surge as much as 26 points, but Miami's lead was slowly dwindling and the Celtics never quite found the peg to accelerate them. Jaylen Brown's 3-pointer late in the fourth cut led the Heat to one, but the Heat had one last answer - Max Strus buried a 3-pointer with two minutes left, Adebayo scored and Kyle Lowry capped a hugely successful return with a clutch steal. Given the Heat won the game almost entirely on live ball turnovers, it's tempting to say the Celtics threw away a winnable game, but that minimizes the Heat's reaction after Thursday's beatdown. During that post-season run, the Celtics have been really good at bouncing back from disappointing losses, which is an essential trait as they've suffered some really disappointing losses. On Saturday, they were overwhelmed and overwhelmed by a Heat team, losing despite a plethora of advantages. 2. Saturday's game was a war of attrition, so here's the injury summary from the podium after the game: Robert Williams is "really" back to normal according to Ime Udoka and could be back as soon as Monday. Marcus Smart rolled his ankle in a creepy scene captured by cameras on the pitch, but Udoka believes he will be fine going forward. The same goes for Jayson Tatum, who suffered a stinger. "My neck caught in a weird position," Tatum said. 3. Jaylen Brown scored 40 points but struggled tremendously against Miami's defensive pressure, turning the ball over seven times. He and Tatum (six) combined in 13 of the Celtics' 21 turnovers. In a game they won by six points, the Heat beat the Celtics 33-9 in turnover points. "It happened to us a couple of times this playoff run," Horford said bluntly. "It's something we keep fighting for and it seemed like every time we put ourselves in position we turned the ball around." Again, the Heat had a lot to do with it, but if the Celtics hope to progress they absolutely need to stop turning the ball. The fact that they've already solved this problem once in Game 2 makes Saturday's performance particularly odd. "I did an S job today and took care of the basketball," Brown said. "But just be stronger, push them and keep being aggressive and keep getting to the basket and keep doing what I'm doing but be stronger when I get in there. They're releasing a lot of stuff tonight, especially when I feel like I'm driving and getting to the basket I feel like there's two hands on me all the time. I did a damn good job today taking care of the ball. I have to do better.” Given the disparity in the free-throw, Brown's comments about the officials could fall on deaf ears. 4. Tatum was 3-for-14 and 1-for-7 from the deep with his six turnovers. Coming back into play in the fourth after his stinger, a Celtics run that finally had some bite fell apart immediately. "I feel like I let the boys down tonight," Tatum said. When asked about Tatum's regular nights off, Udoka said his troubles are just "to understand how [the Heat] is going to protect you," then turned to talking about team-wide issues. “All [the Heat] talked about was improving their physicality, being embarrassed at home and that's what we talked about, not being surprised or complacent or satisfied with winning at them and understanding how they're going to make it Guardians, be physical, and we haven't achieved that from the start," Udoka said. "It looked like we kind of slacked off under their pressure and started complaining to the refs and taking ourselves out of the game from the start." If you're a Celtics fan looking for a little hope on a brutal Saturday, you could do worse than the fact that Tatum most likely won't be as bad again on Monday. 5. After averaging just 16 points combined in Games 1 and 2, Bam Adebayo had a great evening - 31 points, 10 rebounds, six assists and four steals. Butler was outstanding in Game 1, but the Heat brings a lot more to the table than just Jimmy Butler. A reporter remarked to Udoka that Robert Williams - who missed Saturday's game with knee pain - could have made a big difference against Adebayo. "Adebayo put his shoulder in the chest of whoever was guarding him, so Rob can't save the day that far," Udoka said. 6. Once again the Celtics are playing for their season. The Celtics and Heat announce Game 4 on Monday at 8:30 p.m. on ABC.

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Cruel playoff injuries did so well for the Celtics and Heat

The injuries that overshadowed the Eastern Conference Finals can turn your stomach and stir your spirit. (Author: Gardener)

the Celtics and HeatBoston's Marcus Smart went down with an injury in the third quarter of a Game 3 loss to the Miami Heat. The series featuring the No. 1 seeded Miami Heat, second seeded Boston Celtics and their top notch batons is not for anyone who believes basketball is all beauty or grace. The team that remains standing or, better yet, hobbles out of the arena with the most body parts intact wins. Heat forward Jimmy Butler was unable to play in the second half of Game 3 due to a knee infection. Marcus Smart, the heartbeat of the Celtics, needed help from the coaches to get off the floor after suffering a gruesome looking ankle injury. Later, Celtics forward Jayson Tatum sprawled across the floor as his right shoulder throbbed in pain. Despite their howls and grimaces as they left the court, both Boston players would return for more penalties. All of this happened on a Saturday night that began with the news that Boston center Robert Williams III had to miss the game with left knee pain. We're just going to go back to our cave and recover, and maybe [Sunday] I have some information for you," said Heat Coach Erik Spoelstra. And second, on Monday night, when the teams meet again, someone in the TD Garden practice rooms better have Tylenol (or something stronger) on deck. As for the players themselves, they must be prepared with knuckles of steel and adrenaline on a 10th and duct tape. Lots of sports tape. "You know, injuries are part of the game," said heat point guard Kyle Lowry, who made his series debut Saturday night after missing the last four playoff games with a problem in his left hamstring. "That's the part that sucks about the game, the injuries, and you know that's tough." If you're anything like Lowry—and not a sick person who could bear to see Smart's injury repeated more than once—you also loathe injuries. But at least in this series, the Heat and Celtics are turning pain into an art form. Jayson Tatum said his pain came from an obvious sting. Granted, any game loses its appeal when a superstar like Butler has limited minutes to play. However, if so much about this series falls short of normal postseason aesthetic standards — the Celtics treat basketball like it's a plate that's just been atomized in a microwave; They flipped it 24 times on Saturday - the players forced us to marvel at their strength, stamina and particularly high pain threshold. It started in the first set when Heat forward P.J. Tucker left the court with an ankle injury that looked bad enough to at least keep him in the coaching room for the rest of the game. But he didn't let his rolled ankle have the last word and came back to play 31 minutes in the Heat's win. "There's a ghost back there," Tucker said after the game, explaining how he healed so quickly. If Tucker needed a ghost, maybe Lucky, the Celtics mascot, sprinkled magical dust on Smart's foot after his fall. When Smart attacked the glass for a ricochet early Saturday night in the third quarter, he and Lowry collided and his foot landed in a way human feet shouldn't. Smart couldn't put any weight on the ankle as the coaches flanked him on either side and helped him off the field. But there he was, just minutes later, limping down the hall, a camera capturing his footsteps as he made his way back to the Celtics touchline. How on earth was Smart back on the ground? And check into the game? And then at the other end, catching a pass into the left corner, pumping right to avoid Victor Oladipo (a good defender, btw) and drilling a three-pointer to cut the lead to 10? Believe the magic of modern medicine — or Lucky's healing powers — but Smart didn't show any noticeable shuffling in his gait as he chased Tyler Herro, boxed Bam Adebayo, and whipped up offensive fouls (also see: flop) on any Heat player who forgot had to read the scouting report. An inferior individual lacking a team of trained medical professionals paid to tend to their body parts would have cried in the fetal position alone - and not finish the game with 16 points in nearly 37 minutes. Just as dramatic was Tatum's apparent shoulder injury in the fourth quarter. So paralyzed in pain, Tatum never made it onto the pitch after losing the ball to Lowry. Instead, he threw his leg up in the air and turned to lie on his left side while holding his right shoulder. After the game, Tatum would say the sting he felt originated in the back of his neck and traveled down his arm. He, too, disappeared into the tunnel and went to a back room where medical staff were "running some tests." Then, like his teammate, Tatum returned triumphant. Once again, Celtics fans flooded their man with their shocked appreciation. As the Heat and Celtics prepare for Game 4, the protagonists look more like Willis Reed impersonators than modern-day millionaires used to load management. Playing through injuries, they are reminding us of the limits they are willing to push just to make it through June. Their pain isn't pretty, but they're creating a memorable series worthy of our respect — and maybe an insurance plan of their own.

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Heat play with more urgency, Celtics make 24 turnovers in the loss

Despite a game-high 40 points from Jaylen Brown, 24 turnovers and a failure to match the Heat's physicality, Miami led to a 2-1 lead. (Author: Gardener)

24Perhaps the Celtics have become too comfortable playing on their home ground. After all, they topped the heat three of four quarters in the Game 1 loss despite missing two starters, then beat them 127-102 in the next matchup. But on Saturday, the Heat came out with far more urgency, raising their physical level and building a 39-18 lead in the second quarter. With Boston trailing nearly a point in the final frame, 24 turnovers, many careless, stood in the way of a win. Heat throws the first shot, plays with much more urgency than Celtic's Max Strus scored the opening points of the game and capitalized on an open three in transition. Two possessions later, Bam Adebayo attacked the dribbling and took two points from the edge. But Jaylen Brown responded with a middle pull-up jumper to put Boston on the board and make it 5-2. With the Heat's subsequent drive across the court, the Celtics left P. After that, Al Horford attacked from the right corner and scored a layup that made it 8-4. He was also fouled by Brown and converted the free throw, extending Miami's early lead to 11-4. After the break, Tatum missed a floater in traffic and Lowry buried a pull-up three. Butler then intercepted a missed pass from Tatum, which led to an Adebayo vaulting from 13 feet at the other end. Adebayo batted off a jump shot from 14 feet for 18-6 about a minute later. And after going 1/2 at the free-throw line, Smart hit another 14-foot jumper to give Miami a 22-7 lead. And after Butler intercepted another ill-advised pass, this time from Horford, Adebayo fed Strus for a bucket from seven feet. The only negative development at this point for the Heat, who have built a 24-7 advantage with 5-28 on the period, is Lowry heading to the dressing room. Considering he missed the first two games of the series with a hamstring injury that also cost him time in Miami's second-round match against the Sixers, maybe that was their plan. With just over 4:15 to go, Horford wiped a three off the left wing to make it 24-7. But Strus countered with a shot from beyond the arc to bring the visitors' lead back to 17. At the 3:01 mark, ESPN's Malika Andrews reported that Lowry plans to regularly step back to keep his hamstring loose when he's not in the game, confirming those earlier suspicions. With 1:33 left, Brown pulled up and buried a knight just inside the arc in front of the right wing to reduce Boston's lead to 32-16. Brown had an answer, hitting a turnaround jumper at the free throw line. With less than 20 seconds on the clock, Caleb Martin was the first to miss an Adebayo miss that converted the put back and was fouled. He also used the free throw to make it 39-18 Miami. That's how it was at the beginning of the second quarter. Adebayo was far more aggressive than the first two games, finishing the period with 12 points on 6/9 shooting. As a team, Miami shot 64 percent from the field and 5/7 (71.4 percent) from beyond the arc. Conversely, Boston shot 27.8 percent, including 1/6 (16.7 percent) on threes. The Celtics also gave up four offensive rebounds and committed five turnovers that converted the heat to seven points. Celtics show signs of life late in the second quarter Early in the second quarter, Martin broke loose on a basket cut and dunk. Horford responded with a 12-foot floater from just inside the free throw line to make it 41-20. But Miami scored the following six points, including a three by Martin from left wing, taking the visitors' lead to 46-20 and causing disaffected coach Udoka to stop the action at 9:41 to play in the period. After the break, the Celtics still didn't look comfortable against the Heat's zone defenses, but Smart attacked a gap and deployed a floater from 14 feet while being fouled. Then he turned it into an old-fashioned three-point play to make it 46-23. But after that, deep in colour, Horford passed the ball to a slashing Tatum, set an excellent screen on Gabe Vincent and Tatum finished over Adebayo. He also earned a trip to the line where he conceded the free throw. But at the other end, Adebayo found Tucker for an open three from the left corner. The next five points belonged to the Celtics when Smart hit a seven-foot jumper and Pritchard hit a three from the left corner to make it 51-31. But after Smart grabbed the rebound, the ball was taken from behind by Lowry. It seemed like Boston was about to end possession again, but the ball eventually found its way to Butler under the basket, and he pocketed it while being fouled. Just under seven minutes before the end, he added the extra point to make it 54:31. Brown responded, driving off the right wing and finishing a layup on the left side of the rim. But Miami followed a high arc jumper by Lowry with an Adebayo dunk off a Lowry plate, extending the Heat's lead to 58-35 with 3:17 remaining. With 2:16 to go, Brown came off a screen from Horford, worked his way past Tucker and into the paint and found a slicing Grant Williams coming from the opposite corner. Williams was fouled by Strus and appeared to injure his shoulder in the game. After the break, Williams made both free throws to make it 60:37. Then, after a layup by Butler, Horford attacked a breach in the Heat's zone defense, resulting in a layup and a foul. He conceded the free throw to 62:40. Tatum then kicked his way to two points at the rim. And after another stop, Horford took two points on the trophy, finishing just outside the restricted area. Tatum ended the half with a sideways three, slicing from the right corner to the right wing to make it 62-47, energizing the crowd and giving the home side something to build on after the break. Miami shot 51 percent from the field at halftime, including 7/16 (43.8 percent) from beyond the arc. The Heat also produced 34 points in the color, converting seven offensive rebounds into ten second-chance points. This was most evident in the transition, where they scored 16 points from 11 Boston turnovers and generated 13 on fast-break opportunities. Adebayo led all scorers at the break with 16 points. With the Celtics, Brown led with 15 points and four boards. Horford registered 12 points, eight rebounds and three blocks. As a team, they shot 42.9 percent, of which 3/12 (25 percent) were threes. To come back and win this game they need to take the ball and play with a lot more physicality and connectivity in defense. Miami's final possessions were the best Boston played defensively. Increased ball pressure played an important role; That has to be normal in the second half. Heat keeps Celtics at bay in third frame After not playing in the first half, Victor Oladipo was in the second half. According to Malika Andrews, Jimmy Butler will be out for the rest of the game with a sore right knee. Brown unleashed the goal in the second half and went in the basket strongly to score two points down the right side of the rim. But at a worrying moment, as Smart was struggling for an offensive rebound, Smart rolled his right ankle badly. At the 10:25 mark, Lowry hit a three, but Brown countered with a layup, earning him 19 points and closing the gap to 65-51. But then came a layup from Adebayo, back-to-back turnovers from Brown, and another layup from Adebayo after Miami failed to capitalize on the first. Adebayo's second basket made it 69-51. Starting with Tatum finding Horford for a three-pointer from the right wing. Tatum then went 1/2 at the foul line and Brown got a layup, making the score 69-57. Max Strus responded with a three, but Horford then earned a trip to the line where he smashed both free throws. He was back in the game shortly after, getting the ball in the right corner after Tatum passed from a doubles team. With 5:08 minutes remaining, Lowry swept a step-back jumper out of the dribble and extended Miami's lead to 74-62. But Boston countered when Brown attacked the dribbling and then swung the ball from the right corner to Horford for a three. Adebayo had a big play at the other end, catching a Herro miss, crashing the put back and getting fouled in the process. He also made the free throw, extending the Heat's lead to 77-65. Brown responded with a 15-foot pull-up jumper from the foul line. But after the Celtics' 17th turnover in the game and their second straight, Oladipo came off an Adebayo screen and hit a jump shot from ten feet while being fouled. Brown answered and conjured a three from the right wing. But the Heat scored the following five points, including Tucker, who conceded with an open three from the left corner to extend their 1:22 lead to 85-70. In the Celtics' ensuing possession, Smart was there to clear a missed three by Brown, putting Boston back up to 13. The Celtics made a few runs, but the Heat constantly had an answer, preventing them from slamming into the home side and even threatening to take the lead. Adebayo started the fourth quarter with a jab moving toward a middle-class jumper to increase Miami's lead to 89-72. At the 9:34 mark, after a poor pass from Tatum right to Martin, Smart elbowed an attack in the face, denying the Heat more points in the transition. Gabe Vincent then got upset about a blocking foul on Dewayne Dedmon and felt it should have been a charge against Brown. Tatum took the free throw and Brown went 1/2. After that, the Celtics swung the ball to Derrick White in the left corner, he attacked the dribble, found Tatum and kicked it to Grant Williams for a top-end three. This narrowed the gap to 89:80 to play at 8:52, prompting coach Spoelstra to halt the action. With 8:31 left, coach Udoka challenged a shooting foul on Williams. That proved wise as Williams hit the ball in front of Adebayo's hand and the challenge was successful. The result was a half-court jump ball, which Boston won. At the 7:16 mark, a screen and roll produced a thunderous Adebayo dunk to 91-80. Then Lowry lost the ball under the rim, but it slipped out of William's hands and into Tucker's, who hit a mid-range jumper as the shot clock ran out. But Smart countered and grabbed two points at the basket to make it 93-82 with a 6:17. Smart then drew a charge against Adebayo in the low post. With just under 5:40 left, Tatum injured his right shoulder trying to take Oladipo out of dribbling. After a full time out from Celtics, Tatum was helped into the dressing room. While he was down, Boston got two points, courtesy of Smart, who found Brown for a layup. He was also fouled and capitalized on the free throw, making it 93-85. Brown followed that up by charging downhill, maneuvered by Lowry, and hitting a floater about half circle below the free throw line. Coach Spoelstra was upset at the lack of a foul call and felt Brown elbow Lowry on his way past him. After a time out in Miami, Lowry lost the ball and Williams saved it. At the other end, Brown stayed hot and cut in for another layup to make it a four-point game at 4-14. As the Heat put the ball on court, Tatum returned to Boston's bench, causing the crowd to erupt. Brown, absolutely on fire, then drilled a three down the left wing from 26 feet out. But Strus responded with a clutch three to give Miami a 96-92 cushion with 2:16 remaining. And after a shot-clock turnover from Boston, Adebayo buried a jumper right out of the arc when the shot-clock ran out. That left Miami with a 98-92 advantage with 1:21. The Celtics then committed another turnover, a miss by Tatum, forcing Williams to send Tucker to the free-throw line. He made both shots and took the Heat 100-92 lead by 1:07. Williams struggled for an offensive rebound and earned a trip to the charity strip where he went 2/2 and made it 100-94 with 1:01 on the game clock. But Boston then sent Oladipo to the line where he went 1/2. And as Smart tried to let the inbounds come to him, Lowry swooped in and stole it, finding a Strus for a layup that seemingly sealed the win. It gave the Heat a 103-94 advantage with 42.5 seconds left. Brown fired a three-pointer from above the break to make it 103-97, prompting Coach Spoelstra to call a time-out with 40.1 seconds left. After the break, with Lowry running in in front of Boston's bench, Smart fouled and attempted to take an offensive foul from Tucker from where the pass went. He also received a technical for his frustration with the call and the lack of an offensive foul on Miami's first attempt to put the ball in play. Lowry used the technical and Tucker made both free throws to extend the Heat's lead to 106-97. 39.6 seconds to go. Williams then hit a three with 31.3 seconds to play. Oladipo went 1/2, Adebayo threw a dunk and Nik Stauskas splashed a three for the final score of 109-103 in Miami's favour. The Heat were the more physical team, playing with more urgency and discipline. And even without Butler, Miami reacted when the Celtics made runs and stemmed the tide before losing the lead. Adebayo, who atones for his lack of penetration in the first two games, was the best player on the floor and finished the game with 31 points as team-best in 15/22 shooting. In the win, the Heat produced 48 points in the suit. Boston coughed up the ball 24 times, resulting in 33 points for Miami. The Heat also generated 15 points in the fast break. As for the Celtics, Brown has been pushing them with a game-high 40 points on 14/20 shooting. Fourteen of those came in his fourth-quarter takeover and scored the most goals in frame for either team. With Tatum returning to the bench, it's unrealistic to think Ime Udoka would hold him off, but Boston's attack quickly lost its rhythm after coming back. Brown scored nine of his 40 points at the free-throw line and attempted 12 fouls. Compare that to Smart and Oladipo, who take second place with five free throws. Brown also grabbed nine rebounds, but he committed a game-high with seven turnovers. He finished with ten points on 3/14 shooting, including 1/7 on three-pointers. And while some shots went in and out, he didn't fare well with the physicality of the Heat's defense on Saturday. He also coughed up the ball six times, including some careless passes. Not only did Boston waste a 40-piece copy of Brown; It also squandered a great performance from Horford. The veteran Big Man recorded 20 points, 14 rebounds, three assists and three blocks. As a team, the Celtics shot 48.6 percent from the field and went on threes at 12/32 (37.5 percent). They went 23/30 (76.7 percent) at the free throw line compared to Miami, which went 12/14 (85.7 percent). You didn't have to wait until after the game to see the Heat's displeasure at this disparity. And Boston not only shot well and more than doubled Miami's free throw attempts; The Celtics also converted nine offensive rebounds into 21-second opportunity points. Game 4 of this series of Eastern Conference Finals between the Celtics and Heat takes place Monday night at 8:30 p.m. ET. Inside The Celtics will contain content related to the game before, during and after the game. What stood out from Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Finals: Celtics win decisively, tying the streak en route to Boston Celtics Quickly turn the page to decisive Game 2: 'We just have to come together, correct the mistakes and be ready to fight' Jayson Tatum, Celtics discuss Heat outscoring them 39-14 in third quarter: 'I need to lead better, I need to play better in these moments and I'm just looking forward to responding'

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The saga is over! Mbappe signs 3-year contract with PSG

Kylian Mbappe's transfer saga came to an end on Saturday when it was confirmed he had signed a three-year deal at Paris Saint-Germain. (Author: Gardener)

3-yearJulien Laurens reacts to Kylian Mbappe's surprise decision to turn down a move to Real Madrid and stay at PSG. Julien Laurens reacts to Kylian Mbappe's surprise decision to turn down a move to Real Madrid and stay at PSG. Kylian Mbappe's transfer saga came to an end on Saturday when it was confirmed that the Paris Saint-Germain striker had turned down a move to Real Madrid in favor of a three-year contract extension at the Ligue 1 club. ESPN reported last year that PSG had rejected a series of offers from Madrid for Mbappe, the latest of which was up to €200m, and the Spanish giants were confident they would finally achieve their long-awaited goal with a free transfer this summer would , whose contract expires on June 30. However, a last-ditch effort by PSG to persuade Mbappe to stay proved successful on Saturday as the striker pledged his future to the Ligue 1 club until 2025. "I would like to announce that I have decided to extend my contract at Paris Saint-Germain and of course I am very happy," Mbappe said in a statement. "I am convinced that I can continue to grow here at a club that offers everything necessary to play at the highest level. I also want to thank all the Paris Saint-Germain fans in France and around the world for their support, especially over the last few months. Sources told ESPN earlier on Saturday that Mbappe personally contacted Madrid president Florentino Perez to update him of his decision, as well as PSG manager Mauricio Pochettino and his teammates. Sources said PSG sporting director Leonardo could leave as a result of the deal, Mbappe preferred former Monaco and Lille manager Luis Campos as his replacement and Pochettino's future was also in doubt. Shortly before Mbappe's contract was officially confirmed, LaLiga issued a statement , in which it was announced that legal action would be taken against PSG over the deal. "LaLiga will file a complaint against PSG with UEFA, the French administrative and financial authorities and the European Union committed to continuing to defend the economic ecosystem of European football and its sustainability," read the statement. "This type of deal threatens the economic stability of European football and puts hundreds of thousands of jobs and the integrity of the sport at risk," it said. "It's scandalous that a club like PSG ... can go through such an agreement while the clubs that could afford to hire the player without their payroll being affected cannot sign him. Mbappe joined PSG from AS Monaco in 2017, after all the club paid a world-record fee for a teenager of €180m. He has scored a total of 168 goals in five years at the club, making him the second highest goalscorer of his career behind Edinson Cavani Mbappe, has won Ligue 1 four times with PSG and has been named France's player of the season three times, including this year after winning PSG with 25 goals and 17 assists to the title as a boy and on the verge of joining in 2017, kept in touch with Mbappe's reps during that season and believed the player had given them his word he would join this summer. At the same time, PSG never gave up trying to persuade him to stay and with the end of the season fast approaching this week, there was uncertainty at both clubs over Mbappe's final decision. On Friday, ESPN reported that there was "pessimism" at Madrid about the chances of a deal, as well as "nervousness and confusion" at the player's public behavior and lack of communication. Madrid's transfer strategy has been geared towards pursuing Mbappe in recent years and they will now plan life without him. "Kylian's commitment to PSG is an amazing milestone in our club's history and a wonderful moment for our fans around the world," said club president Al-Khelaifi. “Since the day Kylian joined our family, he has achieved greatness beyond his years at every single stage. By being committed to PSG, he will be the foundation of our club's future on and off the pitch. "I am incredibly proud and very happy - for Kylian, for our fans and for our entire PSG family worldwide - that we will continue our wonderful journey together. For our fans and our club, the biggest chapters of our future lie ahead."

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The Mbappe soap opera is over for now, but questions remain

Kylian Mbappe opted to stay at PSG instead of joining Real Madrid on a free transfer this summer. But was it the right decision? (Author: Gardener)

MbappeFootball's hottest young talent is staying at Paris Saint-Germain and not making the move to world football's biggest brand, Real Madrid. Kylian Mbappe's contract with PSG expires in 40 days and for much of the past year it seemed a dead certainty that he would bid farewell to the French capital and land a massive free-agent deal in Madrid. After all, 23-year-old Mbappe has a long and flirtatious history with Madrid. Invited to training sessions at their academy as an 11-year-old, he slept under a poster of Cristiano Ronaldo (the happy, productive Madrid version). In 2017, while still a teenager, Mbappe opted to leave his first club, Monaco, for PSG rather than Real Madrid, who had haunted him all summer, partially citing the promise of playing time and growth at the club as a reason for his decision French league. A year ago, Mbappe appeared ready to move, but this time it was PSG who blocked the deal and a reported offer of nearly $200m - the second-highest fee ever after Neymar ($263m) – Services refused for him. The common explanation - and possibly one that needs to be challenged - was that Mbappe wanted to leave, PSG couldn't let him as they had just added Lionel Messi into the mix and were looking to make a serious run in the Champions League... but if he doesn't extend it next summer, there's nothing standing in his way. - ESPN+ Viewer's Guide: LaLiga, Bundesliga, MLS, FA Cup, more Right, nothing can stop him. Unless, of course, Mbappe decides to stay at PSG. It was a colossal coup for the French club and its Qatari owners. They're keeping the ties - the 'one-off' front three of Mbappe, Messi and Neymar - together for another season (at least) and have another run in the Champions League. They are showing the world that there is serious sporting commitment behind the club, that this is not just a showcase for Qatar's sporting commitment and a gigantic PR project culminating in the 2022 World Cup next November. The club posted losses of almost 350 million euros ($390 million) in the pandemic-hit seasons of 2019/20 and 2020/21, doubling with a massive frenzy last summer (acquiring the contracts of Achraf Hakimi and Danilo Pereira for a total of around 100 million US dollars). and signing expensive free agents like Gianluigi Donnarumma, Georginio Wijnaldum and of course Messi). The game's governing body in Europe, UEFA, has imposed spending restrictions that will come into effect in 2023. Some, like LaLiga president Javier Tebas, have questioned whether PSG are serious about complying with them. A day earlier, Mbappe's mother, Fayza Lamari, had said there would be no new meetings with clubs about her son's future. Madrid had made their best and final offer, as had PSG, to persuade him to stay. "We have reached an agreement [in principle] with both Real Madrid and PSG and the discussions are over because it's Kylian who has to decide now," she told Kora Plus. "The two offers, that of PSG and Real [Madrid], are almost identical. At Real, my son would have control over his image rights. It's rare to get such clarity from a de facto agent: Mbappe doesn't have one official representative." and relies on separated parents Fayza and Wilfried. Many read in it that he was ready to sign PSG but didn't want to leave divided and wanted to show the French club had done everything they could to keep him . Perhaps coming from an agent who would have to do business with both clubs in the future, that would have been the case. As far as Real Madrid goes, it feels like one of those great 'Will they?' Won't they?" Soap opera romances. The old trope was that you can only deny them so many times that they ultimately prevail. Mbappe may have used up his allotment of 'nons'... As perhaps his new contract at PSG includes one Get out clause or just an extension so he can try again to win the Champions League with Messi at his side and later join Real Madrid which should be the summer they recharge with Mbappe the jewel in the summer spending spree.Now it's time for Plan B. Real Madrid rode their veteran stars in winning LaLiga and reaching the Champions League final against Liverpool on May 28 ( ironically taking place in Paris... (would some hope Mbappe would be there to cheer them on?) But the team obviously needs fresh blood and depth. Mbappe won't be there. At least not next year. Rings on fingers in the His sport can be removed -- sometimes easily, sometimes with great effort -- and until he retires (which won't happen for a good decade or more), it feels like there's always a flare of, "Maybe to come." they get together one day.” After all, the best romantic soap operas keep the suspense up for as long as they can.

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Kylian Mbappé signs a new 3-year contract with PSG after turning down Real Madrid

“I am very happy to continue this adventure of staying in France, in Paris, my city. I've always said Paris is my home," Mbappe said. (Author: Gardener)

Kylian MbappéPARIS -- Kylian Mbappé celebrated with fans at the Parc des Princes and then scored a hat-trick after signing a new three-year contract with Paris Saint-Germain on Saturday and turning down the chance to join Real Madrid. Before PSG defeated Metz 5-0 in their last home game, France's world champion star stood on a platform near the center circle to address the fans. “I am very happy to continue this adventure and to stay in France, in Paris, my city. "I hope that I will continue to do what I love most, which is to continue playing football and winning trophies." Mbappe then held up a PSG shirt that read 2025 as he stood next to President Nasser Al-Khelaifi , who had just announced the new deal. Kylian Mbappe will stay until 2025," said Al-Khelaifi, who was barely heard as the fans chanted Mbappé's name again and again: The PSG contract of one of football's most sought-after players expired in June, Mbappé would have been available on a free transfer, but instead of going to With 13-time European champions Madrid haunting him for so long, Mbappé decided to stay to try and give PSG their first Champions League title Madrid managed to beat PSG in the Champions League this season but again not on the transfer market.The Spanish giants' failure to sign Mbappé was a major blow to its president, Florentino Pérez, who has been trying to get the transfer over the line for a year.PSG rejected Madrid's official offer of €180m ($190 million) – the same amount Mbappé was signed for by Monaco in 2017 – and even another r The stated amount of 200 million euros ($211 million) r not enough to sell his star, even though he only had one year left on his contract. Mbappé said he wanted to leave PSG at the end of last season but only on the right terms. The non-transfer reflects the changing power dynamics in European football. Pérez was one of the architects of the European Super League's spin-off from the UEFA Champions League, which imploded within 48 hours in April 2021. PSG refrained from joining the 12 founders of the Super League, allowing its president Al-Khelaifi to gain one of the two most powerful roles in football as head of the European Club Association. Pérez is still pursuing his Super League dream amidst a clash with UEFA. "It is an insult to football that PSG will renew Mbappé with huge sums of money (who knows where and how they will pay them) after losses of 700 million euros in recent seasons and more than 600 million euros in salaries," wrote he on Twitter: Mbappé, who played for France at the 2018 World Cup, would have made a statement had he signed for Pérez - especially if he had lured Mbappé away from a team that has only changed through its funding in the last decade from Qatar as a rival But the energy put into the transfer and the optimism of Madrid chasing their record-breaking 14th European Cup win in next Saturday's Champions League final in Paris has fizzled as Mbappé unveiled the best of the league won for the third time last Sunday as a player, he said he had made his decision in principle, but did not say in which direction.Sp The bond between the clubs was evident when PSG were knocked out of the Champions League by Madrid in the round of 16 in March - who led 2-0 on aggregate with two Mbappé goals - and Al-Khelaifi remained under investigation by UEFA for he was allegedly confronted with match officials after the defeat. Madrid are being stalled again after trying to sign Mbappé after he left Monaco in 2017 - and even before that. Mbappé's first professional goal came at the age of 17 years and 62 days, beating Monaco's club record held by Thierry Henry. Mbappé is already up to 26 and could well overtake him as a PSG player. In the season-ending home game, where he played alongside team-mates Lionel Messi and Neymar, he increased his league lead to 28. However, Mbappé misses a chance to play alongside French team-mate Karim Benzema for Madrid in what has been a devastating partnership and the envy of Europe would. They scored together for Les Bleus last year, both scoring as France won the Nations League final.

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Heat survives Celtics without Jimmy Butler in the second half to win Game 3 with a 2-1 lead in the Eastern Conference Finals

Playing without star Jimmy Butler in the second half, the Heat earned a brave 109-103 away win over the Celtics and a 2-1 lead in series. (Author: Gardener)

Jimmy ButlerBOSTON -- Playing the second half without star Jimmy Butler, the Miami Heat earned an important away win by beating the Boston Celtics 109-103 in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Finals on Saturday. The undermanned Heat built a 25-point lead in the second quarter and almost squandered it in the second half. He held off the Boston rally and took a 2-1 lead. Bam Adebayo led the Heat with 31 points, 10 rebounds and six assists, and P.J. Tucker had 17 points, including four key free throws late in the fourth quarter and seven rebounds. From NFL games to college sports scores, all the top sports news you need to know every day. After Boston's Jaylen Brown hit a 3-pointer to reduce Miami's lead to 93-92, the Heat scored the next seven points for a 100-92 lead with 1:07 in the game. Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said an MRI was not required for Butler (right knee inflammation), and a person with knowledge of the situation told USA TODAY Sports Butler is unlikely to miss any time. 😤 Bam Adebayo set the tone for the @MiamiHEAT on offense and defense! #[email protected]: 31 PTS, 10 REB, 6 AST, 4 STL, 1 BLK pic.twitter.com/fQFzi7VQ2l - NBA (@NBA) May 22, 2022 Adebayo had a quiet Game 2 in the Celtics' blowout win. In Saturday morning's shootaround, Spoelstra said: "We want him to be more involved and I need to do better on that to make sure he's involved and committed and gets us to our triggers. The Heat made a conscious effort to get him Adebayo responded with 12 of his 16 first-half points in the first quarter. Those 16 points equaled his total from the first two games of the series. It was a necessary effort from Adebayo. "He's a winning player," Spoelstra said. to win basketball. We needed the goal tonight and we needed that offensive punch early on." Boston's Robert Williams (knee pain) missed Game 3. Butler didn't return in the second half with a sore right knee, and Boston's Marcus Smart, Defensive Player of the Year, went into the locker room at 10 a.m. with apparent foot problems: 57 of the third quarter, limping back at 6:52 in the third and promptly hitting a 3-pointer, cutting Miami's lead to 72-62 Boston star Jayson Tatum left left into the dressing room in the fourth quarter with an apparent shoulder/arm injury 5:18 He also returned in the game Smart (sprained right foot) and Al Horford (COVID-19 records) missed Game 1, a Celtics Defeat, and heat point guard Kyle Lowry (strained left hamstring) missed the first two games of the series Tatum didn't score his first point until 8:49 of the second quarter and then fired r 3 against 12, including 1 against 6 on 3-pointers, with nine points in three quarters. He finished the race with just 10 points in 3-on-14 shooting, including 1-on-7 in 3-shooting. He had just two points and no baskets in the second half. "Six turnovers and no field goals in the second half, that's unacceptable," Tatum said. "I have to play better." Brown (game high 40 points, nine rebounds) and Horford (20 points, 14 rebounds) carried the Celtics offensively. Smart added 16 points. Lowry, who starred in the series for the first time, made an immediate impression. He dictated the pace, found open shooters, controlled the offense with his calm, made an early 3-pointer and had a steal. Lowry finished the tournament with 11 points, six assists and four steals. “To be honest, I only played four games in the playoffs before tonight. Boston committed 24 turnovers, resulting in 33 heat points. The Heat only had nine turnovers for nine Celtics points. Brown had seven turnovers, Tatum had six, Smart 4 and Horford 3. The Celtics were also sloppy with the basketball in the third quarter of Miami's Game 1 win. The Celtics had a late turnover on an in-bounds pass after Miami's Victor Oladipo had hit a free throw, leading to a layup by Max Strus for a 103-94 heat lead. "If you flip the ball 24 times and give them 33 points, you're digging a hole," said Udoka, making some mistakes and more turnovers. But you dig yourself into such a big hole because you play in a crowd, we understand how they will guard us. The @MiamiHEAT defense choked in Game 3 to set a playoff franchise record with 19 steals! #HEATCulture pic.twitter.com/uIqdaeyGUQ - NBA (@NBA) May 22, 2022 After Smart cut Miami's lead to 103-97, he fouled and received a technical foul, turning his sixth foul into a 3-point game and Grant Williams was scored with a flagrant foul 1 with 24.7 seconds left and the Celtics 106-100 behind. Oladipo made one of two free throws and the Heat retained possession. Heat reserve Victor Oladipo was not used in the first half. But he started the second half in place of Butler, and while he only had five points, he also had four steals. "To not play at all and then step in and do what he did in the second half, that level of professionalism is rare," Tucker said. “They hit us like we stole something in Game 2. That's why we love the guys in the dressing room.” – Spoelstra on who might be available in Game 4. This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Heat survives Celtics without Jimmy Butler in second half to win Game 3 with 2-1 lead in Eastern Conference Finals

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Heat play with more urgency, Celtics make 24 turnovers in the loss

Perhaps the Celtics have become too comfortable playing on their home ground. After all, they topped the heat three of four quarters in the Game 1 loss despite missing two starters, then beat them 127-102 in the next matchup. But on Saturday, the heat came out with far more urgency, heightened... (Author: Gardener)

24Perhaps the Celtics have become too comfortable playing on their home ground. After all, they topped the heat three of four quarters in the Game 1 loss despite missing two starters, then beat them 127-102 in the next matchup. But on Saturday, the Heat came out with far more urgency, raising their physical level and building a 39-18 lead in the second quarter. With Boston trailing nearly a point in the final frame, 24 turnovers, many careless, stood in the way of a win. Heat throws the first shot, plays with much more urgency than Celtic's Max Strus scored the opening points of the game and capitalized on an open three in transition. Two possessions later, Bam Adebayo attacked the dribbling and took two points from the edge. But Jaylen Brown responded with a middle pull-up jumper to put Boston on the board and make it 5-2. With the Heat's subsequent drive across the court, the Celtics left P. After that, Al Horford attacked from the right corner and scored a layup that made it 8-4. He was also fouled by Brown and converted the free throw, extending Miami's early lead to 11-4. After the break, Tatum missed a floater in traffic and Lowry buried a pull-up three. Butler then intercepted a missed pass from Tatum, which led to an Adebayo vaulting from 13 feet at the other end. Adebayo batted off a jump shot from 14 feet for 18-6 about a minute later. And after going 1/2 at the free-throw line, Smart hit another 14-foot jumper to give Miami a 22-7 lead. And after Butler intercepted another ill-advised pass, this time from Horford, Adebayo fed Strus for a bucket from seven feet. The only negative development at this point for the Heat, who have built a 24-7 advantage with 5-28 on the period, is Lowry heading to the dressing room. Considering he missed the first two games of the series with a hamstring injury that also cost him time in Miami's second-round match against the Sixers, maybe that was their plan. With just over 4:15 to go, Horford wiped a three off the left wing to make it 24-7. But Strus countered with a shot from beyond the arc to bring the visitors' lead back to 17. At the 3:01 mark, ESPN's Malika Andrews reported that Lowry plans to regularly step back to keep his hamstring loose when he's not in the game, confirming those earlier suspicions. With 1:33 left, Brown pulled up and buried a knight just inside the arc in front of the right wing to reduce Boston's lead to 32-16. Brown had an answer, hitting a turnaround jumper at the free throw line. With less than 20 seconds on the clock, Caleb Martin was the first to miss an Adebayo miss that converted the put back and was fouled. He also used the free throw to make it 39-18 Miami. That's how it was at the beginning of the second quarter. Adebayo was far more aggressive than the first two games, finishing the period with 12 points on 6/9 shooting. As a team, Miami shot 64 percent from the field and 5/7 (71.4 percent) from beyond the arc. Conversely, Boston shot 27.8 percent, including 1/6 (16.7 percent) on threes. The Celtics also gave up four offensive rebounds and committed five turnovers that converted the heat to seven points. Celtics show signs of life late in the second quarter Early in the second quarter, Martin broke loose on a basket cut and dunk. Horford responded with a 12-foot floater from just inside the free throw line to make it 41-20. But Miami scored the following six points, including a three by Martin from left wing, taking the visitors' lead to 46-20 and causing disaffected coach Udoka to stop the action at 9:41 to play in the period. After the break, the Celtics still didn't look comfortable against the Heat's zone defenses, but Smart attacked a gap and deployed a floater from 14 feet while being fouled. Then he turned it into an old-fashioned three-point play to make it 46-23. But after that, deep in colour, Horford passed the ball to a slashing Tatum, set an excellent screen on Gabe Vincent and Tatum finished over Adebayo. He also earned a trip to the line where he conceded the free throw. But at the other end, Adebayo found Tucker for an open three from the left corner. The next five points belonged to the Celtics when Smart hit a seven-foot jumper and Pritchard hit a three from the left corner to make it 51-31. But after Smart grabbed the rebound, the ball was taken from behind by Lowry. It seemed like Boston was about to end possession again, but the ball eventually found its way to Butler under the basket, and he pocketed it while being fouled. Just under seven minutes before the end, he added the extra point to make it 54:31. Brown responded, driving off the right wing and finishing a layup on the left side of the rim. But Miami followed a high arc jumper by Lowry with an Adebayo dunk off a Lowry plate, extending the Heat's lead to 58-35 with 3:17 remaining. With 2:16 to go, Brown came off a screen from Horford, worked his way past Tucker and into the paint and found a slicing Grant Williams coming from the opposite corner. Williams was fouled by Strus and appeared to injure his shoulder in the game. After the break, Williams made both free throws to make it 60:37. Then, after a layup by Butler, Horford attacked a breach in the Heat's zone defense, resulting in a layup and a foul. He conceded the free throw to 62:40. Tatum then kicked his way to two points at the rim. And after another stop, Horford took two points on the trophy, finishing just outside the restricted area. Tatum ended the half with a sideways three, slicing from the right corner to the right wing to make it 62-47, energizing the crowd and giving the home side something to build on after the break. Miami shot 51 percent from the field at halftime, including 7/16 (43.8 percent) from beyond the arc. The Heat also produced 34 points in the color, converting seven offensive rebounds into ten second-chance points. This was most evident in the transition, where they scored 16 points from 11 Boston turnovers and generated 13 on fast-break opportunities. Adebayo led all scorers at the break with 16 points. With the Celtics, Brown led with 15 points and four boards. Horford registered 12 points, eight rebounds and three blocks. As a team, they shot 42.9 percent, of which 3/12 (25 percent) were threes. To come back and win this game they need to take the ball and play with a lot more physicality and connectivity in defense. Miami's final possessions were the best Boston played defensively. Increased ball pressure played an important role; That has to be normal in the second half. Heat keeps Celtics at bay in third frame After not playing in the first half, Victor Oladipo was in the second half. According to Malika Andrews, Jimmy Butler will be out for the rest of the game with a sore right knee. Brown unleashed the goal in the second half and went in the basket strongly to score two points down the right side of the rim. But at a worrying moment, as Smart was struggling for an offensive rebound, Smart rolled his right ankle badly. At the 10:25 mark, Lowry hit a three, but Brown countered with a layup, earning him 19 points and closing the gap to 65-51. But then came a layup from Adebayo, back-to-back turnovers from Brown, and another layup from Adebayo after Miami failed to capitalize on the first. Adebayo's second basket made it 69-51. Starting with Tatum finding Horford for a three-pointer from the right wing. Tatum then went 1/2 at the foul line and Brown got a layup, making the score 69-57. Max Strus responded with a three, but Horford then earned a trip to the line where he smashed both free throws. He was back in the game shortly after, getting the ball in the right corner after Tatum passed from a doubles team. With 5:08 minutes remaining, Lowry swept a step-back jumper out of the dribble and extended Miami's lead to 74-62. But Boston countered when Brown attacked the dribbling and then swung the ball from the right corner to Horford for a three. Adebayo had a big play at the other end, catching a Herro miss, crashing the put back and getting fouled in the process. He also made the free throw, extending the Heat's lead to 77-65. Brown responded with a 15-foot pull-up jumper from the foul line. But after the Celtics' 17th turnover in the game and their second straight, Oladipo came off an Adebayo screen and hit a jump shot from ten feet while being fouled. Brown answered and conjured a three from the right wing. But the Heat scored the following five points, including Tucker, who conceded with an open three from the left corner to extend their 1:22 lead to 85-70. In the Celtics' ensuing possession, Smart was there to clear a missed three by Brown, putting Boston back up to 13. The Celtics made a few runs, but the Heat constantly had an answer, preventing them from slamming into the home side and even threatening to take the lead. Adebayo started the fourth quarter with a jab moving toward a middle-class jumper to increase Miami's lead to 89-72. At the 9:34 mark, after a poor pass from Tatum right to Martin, Smart elbowed an attack in the face, denying the Heat more points in the transition. Gabe Vincent then got upset about a blocking foul on Dewayne Dedmon and felt it should have been a charge against Brown. Tatum took the free throw and Brown went 1/2. After that, the Celtics swung the ball to Derrick White in the left corner, he attacked the dribble, found Tatum and kicked it to Grant Williams for a top-end three. This narrowed the gap to 89:80 to play at 8:52, prompting coach Spoelstra to halt the action. With 8:31 left, coach Udoka challenged a shooting foul on Williams. That proved wise as Williams hit the ball in front of Adebayo's hand and the challenge was successful. The result was a half-court jump ball, which Boston won. At the 7:16 mark, a screen and roll produced a thunderous Adebayo dunk to 91-80. Then Lowry lost the ball under the rim, but it slipped out of William's hands and into Tucker's, who hit a mid-range jumper as the shot clock ran out. But Smart countered and grabbed two points at the basket to make it 93-82 with a 6:17. Smart then drew a charge against Adebayo in the low post. With just under 5:40 left, Tatum injured his right shoulder trying to take Oladipo out of dribbling. After a full time out from Celtics, Tatum was helped into the dressing room. While he was down, Boston got two points, courtesy of Smart, who found Brown for a layup. He was also fouled and capitalized on the free throw, making it 93-85. Brown followed that up by charging downhill, maneuvered by Lowry, and hitting a floater about half circle below the free throw line. Coach Spoelstra was upset at the lack of a foul call and felt Brown elbow Lowry on his way past him. After a time out in Miami, Lowry lost the ball and Williams saved it. At the other end, Brown stayed hot and cut in for another layup to make it a four-point game at 4-14. As the Heat put the ball on court, Tatum returned to Boston's bench, causing the crowd to erupt. Brown, absolutely on fire, then drilled a three down the left wing from 26 feet out. But Strus responded with a clutch three to give Miami a 96-92 cushion with 2:16 remaining. And after a shot-clock turnover from Boston, Adebayo buried a jumper right out of the arc when the shot-clock ran out. That left Miami with a 98-92 advantage with 1:21. The Celtics then committed another turnover, a miss by Tatum, forcing Williams to send Tucker to the free-throw line. He made both shots and took the Heat 100-92 lead by 1:07. Williams struggled for an offensive rebound and earned a trip to the charity strip where he went 2/2 and made it 100-94 with 1:01 on the game clock. But Boston then sent Oladipo to the line where he went 1/2. And as Smart tried to let the inbounds come to him, Lowry swooped in and stole it, finding a Strus for a layup that seemingly sealed the win. It gave the Heat a 103-94 advantage with 42.5 seconds left. Brown fired a three-pointer from above the break to make it 103-97, prompting Coach Spoelstra to call a time-out with 40.1 seconds left. After the break, with Lowry running in in front of Boston's bench, Smart fouled and attempted to take an offensive foul from Tucker from where the pass went. He also received a technical for his frustration with the call and the lack of an offensive foul on Miami's first attempt to put the ball in play. Lowry used the technical and Tucker made both free throws to extend the Heat's lead to 106-97. 39.6 seconds to go. Williams then hit a three with 31.3 seconds to play. Oladipo went 1/2, Adebayo threw a dunk and Nik Stauskas splashed a three for the final score of 109-103 in Miami's favour. The Heat were the more physical team, playing with more urgency and discipline. And even without Butler, Miami reacted when the Celtics made runs and stemmed the tide before losing the lead. Adebayo, who atones for his lack of penetration in the first two games, was the best player on the floor and finished the game with 31 points as team-best in 15/22 shooting. In the win, the Heat produced 48 points in the suit. Boston coughed up the ball 24 times, resulting in 33 points for Miami. The Heat also generated 15 points in the fast break. As for the Celtics, Brown has been pushing them with a game-high 40 points on 14/20 shooting. Fourteen of those came in his fourth-quarter takeover and scored the most goals in frame for either team. With Tatum returning to the bench, it's unrealistic to think Ime Udoka would hold him off, but Boston's attack quickly lost its rhythm after coming back. Brown scored nine of his 40 points at the free-throw line and attempted 12 fouls. Compare that to Smart and Oladipo, who take second place with five free throws. Brown also grabbed nine rebounds, but he committed a game-high with seven turnovers. As for Tatum, he delivered one of his worst playoff games of his career. He finished with ten points on 3/14 shooting, including 1/7 on three-pointers. And while some shots went in and out, he didn't fare well with the physicality of the Heat's defense on Saturday. He also coughed up the ball six times, including some careless passes. Not only did Boston waste a 40-piece copy of Brown; It also squandered a great performance from Horford. The veteran Big Man recorded 20 points, 14 rebounds, three assists and three blocks. As a team, the Celtics shot 48.6 percent from the field and went on threes at 12/32 (37.5 percent). They went 23/30 (76.7 percent) at the free throw line compared to Miami, which went 12/14 (85.7 percent). You didn't have to wait until after the game to see the Heat's displeasure at this disparity. And Boston not only shot well and more than doubled Miami's free throw attempts; The Celtics also converted nine offensive rebounds into 21-second opportunity points. Game 4 of this series of Eastern Conference Finals between the Celtics and Heat takes place Monday night at 8:30 p.m. ET. Inside The Celtics will contain content related to the game before, during and after the game. What stood out from Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Finals: Celtics win decisively, tying the streak en route to Boston Celtics Quickly turn the page to decisive Game 2: 'We just have to come together, correct the mistakes and be ready to fight' Jayson Tatum, Celtics discuss Heat outscoring them 39-14 in third quarter: 'I need to lead better, I need to play better in these moments and I'm just looking forward to responding'

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