NBA Playoffs: Heat survive Celtics fightback to take home court advantage

Boston, Massachusetts - The Miami Heat fought off a gritty comeback attempt from the Boston Celtics to win 109-103 on Saturday, reclaiming home-court advantage and taking out Game 3 in the NBA'S Eastern Conference Finals.

Bam Adebayo (2nd from r.) celebrates after scoring against the Celtics.
Bam Adebayo (2nd from r.) celebrates after scoring against the Celtics.  © USA TODAY Sports

The Celtics were down by 26 points in the first half and clawed their way back to make it a one-possession game down the stretch, but clutch baskets from Max Strus and Bam Adebayo were able to halt momentum.

Erik Spoelstra's side eventually saw the game out from the free-throw line.

With Jimmy Butler and Tyler Herro off injured in the second half, Adebayo finished with 31 points on 15-of-22 shooting, 10 rebounds, six assists, and four steals in a big performance.

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Jaylen Brown led the late charge for the Celtics, scoring a game-high 40 points off 14-of-20 shooting from the floor, but turnovers were critical as the team failed to take care of the ball. Brown was responsible for seven of his own while Jayson Tatum and Marcus Smart combined for 10, with the Celtics committing a shocking 23 turnovers.

Both Tatum and Smart had to leave the court at one point due to injuries, although they later returned.

Celtics count cost of poor start

Jimmy Butler (l.) only made it through the first half before he had to go off with knee inflammation.
Jimmy Butler (l.) only made it through the first half before he had to go off with knee inflammation.  © USA TODAY Sports

Boston shot 37.5% from three-point range but they were always facing an uphill battle following a 39-14 first quarter.

The Heat scored 33 points off those turnovers in contrast to Boston's nine points, with double-digit margins for points in the paint (48-34) and bench points (26-16).

Butler came up with eight points and three rebounds, as well as two assists and steals, but knee inflammation saw him miss the second half.

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Kyle Lowry's return to the floor was pivotal for the Heat, however, finishing with 11 points, six assists, and four steals.

Game 4 is on Monday as the Celtics looks to level it up again.

Cover photo: USA TODAY Sports

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