The Boston Celtics looked like they quit starting the second quarter of Game 3 against the Miami Heat. Boston’s humiliating 128-102 loss to Miami put them on the brink of a sweep against the Eastern Conference’s eighth-seeded team.
While there’s plenty of blame to go around for the disastrous performance, the buck has to start with Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown. The Celtics’ All-Stars combined for just 26 points on 12-35 shooting, including a ghastly 1-14 from behind the arc.
Malcolm Brogdon, who has been a difference-maker for Boston, played 18 minutes and missed all of his six attempts. The Sixth Man of the Year, like his teammates, was completely overwhelmed by the Miami Heat’s aggression and execution.
Marcus Smart, the vocal and fiery leader of the Boston Celtics, couldn’t do much better. He had eight points, nine rebounds and eight assists. The former Defensive Player of the Year couldn’t contain any of Miami’s scorching hot guards.
Gabe Vincent, the Heat’s starting point guard, torched the Celtics for 29 points, which were highlighted by 6-9 shooting from deep. Duncan Robinson had his best game of the season, finishing with 22 points on a 7-11 clip, including 5-7 triples.
Jimmy Butler, the Celtics’ biggest tormentor, was content to let his teammates do most of the damage for once. “Jimmy Buckets” had 16 points, eight rebounds, six assists and relentlessly trolled Boston during the rout.
Everyone associated with the Boston Celtics was likely stunned and embarrassed by the team’s lack of fight. The current players owe it to the organization to show some guts by at least competing to win.
Where to watch
Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Finals between the Boston Celtics and Miami Heat will start at 8:30 pm ET. TNT will air the game on national TV. Basketball fans can also catch the action by streaming the game via the NBA League Pass.
The Boston Celtics were so pathetic in Game 3 that even legendary Laker Magic Johnson couldn’t help himself but feel sorry for the franchise. There has to be nowhere to go but up for the embattled franchise.
Jayson Tatum defiantly told reporters after the loss that the Celtics were not dead. They did play lifeless for nearly the entire 48 minutes. The Celtics can’t have a repeat of what had happened. It seemed like the Miami Heat had taken the fight out of them.
It remains to be seen if the Celtics can collectively recover from the Game 3 debacle. Boston might never be the same again in the next few years if they can’t at least recover some of their lost pride.
The Miami Heat don’t want to take their foot off the gas pedal. They have the Boston Celtics on the ropes and don’t want to give them any kind of hope.
Miami has already smelled Boston’s blood in the water. Expect the snarling Jimmy Butler to be at his best to close out their rivals.
Spread: Heat (-1.5)
Total (O/U): 214.5
Moneyline: Celtics (+100) vs. Heat (-118)
It’s hard to fathom the Celtics are ever getting out of Miami after such a dispirited and even gutless Game 3. The Miami Heat will go on to face the Denver Nuggets in the 2023 NBA Finals.
Miami Heat 115, Boston Celtics 110