(Basketball news) The Miami Heat are just one match away from reaching the NBA finals and clinching the Eastern Conference championship as they beat the Boston Celtics 128-102 in a blowout victory to take a 3-0 series lead. For the Heat, Gabe Vincent scored a career-high 29 points, Duncan Robinson added 22 points while Caleb Martin scored 18, Jimmy Butler finished with 16, Bam Adebayo had 13 and Max Strus added 10 points.
For the Celtics, Jayson Tatum scored 14 and Jaylen Brown added 12 points while Grant Williams and Payton Pritchard each added 12 points. Both the Celtics stars had a really tough time as the second seed are on the verge of elimination as no side in NBA history has lost the first three games of a best-of-seven and has ultimately prevailed.
“That was a solid, mature, professional approach,” said Spoelstra, now on the brink of a sixth trip to the NBA Finals as Miami’s coach. “There’s a lot of pent-up stuff here and we’re getting closer, but we still have to finish this off.”
“The rim was as big as the ocean for everybody,” Adebayo said
“I just didn’t have them ready to play,” said Boston coach Joe Mazzulla, who has been the subject of tons of criticism in this series – and will surely face more going into Tuesday. “Whatever it was, whether it was the starting lineup or an adjustment, I have to get them in a better place, ready to play. That’s on me.”
“To their credit, they’re playing well above their means,” Brown said. “They’re ballin’ right now and I’ve got to give them respect. Gabe Vincent, Martin, Strus, Duncan Robinson, guys that we should be able to keep under control are playing their (butt) off.”
“It’s the first to four games,” Vincent said. “We’re not satisfied with three.”
The Denver Nuggets are on the verge of reaching the Western Conference finals for the first time in their franchise history as they beat the Lakers 119-108 in game 3 to take a 3-0 series lead. For the Lakers, Murray scored 37 points, Jokic added 24 points and eight assists while Kentavious Caldwell-Pope scored 12 of his 17 points in the second half against his former team.
For the Lakers, LeBron James had 23 points, 12 assists and seven rebounds while Anthony Davis had 28 points and 18 rebounds as Austin Reaves added 23 points and seven rebounds but Rui Hachimura was the only other player to enter double figures with 13 points. The Lakers have to do the unthinkable by coming from a 3-0 deficit on top of that Lebron is suffering from a sprained ankle also.
“I learn a lot about this team every time we play,” Caldwell-Pope said. “We have that dog mentality where no matter if we’re up, down, we’re going to continue to fight and play our game, and do it at a high level. We’re going to continue to do that for the rest of these games.”
“This group is capable of doing great things, and they believe,” Malone said. “Belief is a very powerful thing.”
“I can’t speak for the guys right now because I don’t know what’s going through all their minds, but I still (believe),” said LeBron James “So it’s time to go right back home and start to refuel and start the treatment process and recovery process and get ready for Monday. My mindset is always locked in.”
Also read: NBA: Miami Heat take a 2-0 series lead against the Celtics in the Eastern Conference finals