Lake Buena Vista. US, Sep 19 (efe-epa).- The combination of guard Jaylen Brown and forward Jayson Tatum proved effective in the offensive game of the Boston Celtics, who defeated the Miami Heat 117-106 in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference final series on Saturday.
This was the Celtics’ first win in the best-of-seven series.
The Celtics once again dominated the play and scoring but unlike in the first two games, they managed to hold on to their lead to seal their victory.
Brown led the attack for the Celtics with 26 points, seven rebounds, five assists and three steals while Tatum was left just short of a triple-double with 25 points, 14 rebounds – 13 of them defensive -, and eight assists.
Both Brown and Tatum have scored at least 20 points in eight games of the playoffs far.
“I’m glad to be a part of this team and this organization, and I’m proud of how we responded,” Brown said after the game. “What I do best is get to the basket. I just wanted to come out and be the best version of myself.”
Marcus Smart added 20 points as the third highest scorer for the Celtics, shooting a perfect 9-of-9 from the free-throw line in the last quarter, which had been a nightmare for the Boston team until now.
The Celtics, superior to the Heat in the paint (60-36) and with a 20-point lead with seven minutes left in the game (100-80), did not allow the Heat to make another winning comeback this time.
The Celtics’ defense also ensured that the Heat only shot 39 percent from the field.
Celtics star forward Gordon Hayward returned to the lineup after missing a month due to a sprained ankle and scored six points in 31 minutes.
“We’re so much better when he’s out there, so much more dynamic, so much more versatile … To have him back is everything,” Tatum said on Hayward’s return.
Bam Adebayo had a double-double of 27 points and 16 rebounds that left him as the Heat’s top scorer but proved insufficient to prevent their loss.
Rookie Tyler Herro came off the bench to score 22 points while All-Star guard Jimmy Butler made another 17 and Duncan Robinson 13.
Slovenian point guard Goran Dragic, who had led the scoring for the Heat in the previous two games, had to settle for 11 points this time and Jae Crowder for 10 points.
The Celtics will have an opportunity to tie the series in Game 4, which will take place at the Advent Health Arena on Monday. EFE-EPA