Once again, the Miami Heat found themselves trailing by double-digits. And yes, the Heat fought back in the end, even cutting the lead to five late in the fourth quarter. But this time the Boston Celtics closed the game. From the jump, the Celtics played with more desperation than the Heat and it paid off with a 117-106 victory. With the loss, Miami now leads the series 2-1.
Here are my takeaways from Saturday’s loss to Boston.
Points in the Paint
This is the area that hurt the Heat the most. The Celtics kept attacking the paint with force. They had the Heat on their heels all game long. Miami could not stay in front of their man. And when Celtics drove past a Heat player, they were met with little to no resistance from a Heat player. Miami also tried their zone defense, but the Celtics were more prepared for it.
Heading into the fourth quarter, Boston had a 50-22 advantage in the paint. They finished the night with a 60-36 advantage.
With the team trailing by 20 in the fourth period, Miami was able to pull within 109-104 with less than a minute left in the fourth quarter. After that, Jimmy Butler was benched, leaving some to wonder if the star had suffered an injury. Even though he didn’t have a great game, Butler is normally on the floor in closing moments of the game. According to Erik Spoelstra, the reason for the benching was because they wanted to “get to something quicker.” Not because of an injury.
On not playing Jimmy Butler near the end of the game, Erik Spoelstra said there was no injury. Spoelstra said: "We were just trying to get something quick right there at the end."
— Anthony Chiang (@Anthony_Chiang) September 20, 2020
Butler, who started off slow, finished the night with 17 points and eight rebounds.
When the offense was stagnant in the second period, the Heat turned to Tyler Herro for scoring. And he kept them afloat by scoring in a variety of ways. Herro scored 16 of the Heat’s 28 points in the quarter on 6-of-8 shooting, including 4-of-5 on three-pointers. No other Heat player had more than four points in the second period, with the Celtics able to take a 63-50 lead into halftime.
BABY GOAT GETTING HIS BUCKETS
13 Pts & counting. . . pic.twitter.com/380ur5wDPc
— Miami HEAT (@MiamiHEAT) September 20, 2020
Herro finished the night with 22 points, three rebounds, and four assists.
Bam Does it All
Another player who came to play was Bam Adebayo. Adebayo was a force in the paint for the Heat. While the Celtics were able to contain others, they had no answer for the Heat center. Adebayo led the team in scoring with a career playoff-high 27 points. Bam did everything he could to will his team to victory.
Adebayo finished with a career playoff-high 27 points, 16 rebounds, three steals, and two blocks.
Next up: Game 4 is scheduled for Wednesday, Sept. 23 at 8:30 p.m. ET.
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Follow Jacari McRae on Twitter @JMcRae23