The Miami Heat have desperately needed more from Bam Adebayo in the Eastern Conference Finals against the Boston Celtics. In Game 3, he finally provided it.
With Jimmy Butler forced out of action for the entire second half due to knee inflammation, Adebayo responded with 31 points, 10 rebounds, six assists and four steals in Miami's 109-103 win over the Celtics, giving the Heat a 2-1 advantage in the series.
Bam gets the steal and the score, he's leading the Heat on both ends!<br><br>20 PTS and 3 STL for Bam.<a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/NBAConferenceFinals?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#NBAConferenceFinals</a> presented by Google Pixel on ABC <a href="https://t.co/38huRjJrGs">pic.twitter.com/38huRjJrGs</a>
Adebayo got his flowers on social media after the game, earning comparisons to NBA Hall of Famer Kevin Garnett, who, of course, won a title in Boston:
Adebayo was superb—even if he has a long, long, long way to go before he's in the same conversation as KG—but he was only a part of the story on Saturday. Make no mistake about it: This was an absolutely wild 48 minutes of hoop. If you had to summarize this game in one word, it would be...wut.
- Miami led by as many as 26 points in the second quarter, but a late Celtics run cut it to a 15-point deficit.
- Butler didn't return for the second half.
- Both Marcus Smart (ankle) and Jayson Tatum (shoulder) left the game at different points in the second half after being on the court with injuries, literally writhing in pain, only to return minutes later to the absolute delight of the TD Garden crowd.
- The Celtics turned the ball over a whopping 24 times, leading to 33 Heat points. Miami, by contrast, only turned the ball over nine times, leading to nine Boston points.
- Boston cut the deficit to just one with 2:40 remaining, only to allow the Heat to go on a 7-0 run in the next minute that iced it.
It all spoiled a golden opportunity for the Celtics to win a crucial game at home with Butler sidelined and spoiled a topsy-turvy performance from Jaylen Brown that veered from sheer brilliance (40 points, nine rebounds) to head-scratching lapses in judgment (one assist, seven turnovers).
Meanwhile, Tatum struggled, managing only 10 points on 3-of-14 shooting from the field.
This game truly was a beautiful mess, and it was only Game 3.
Thus far, the reprisal of the bubble's 2020 Eastern Conference Finals has sure been a lot of fun. Round 3 goes to Miami, courtesy of Bam.