by Oliver Iglesias
BOSTON – All-Star center Bam Adebayo erupted for 31 points to carry the Miami Heat to a 109-103 victory over the Boston Celtics in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Finals on Saturday evening at the TD Garden.
Miami carved the upset courtesy of a 29-10 first quarter run that led to an offensive punch that opened up a 46-20 advantage in the second quarter.
The Heat had a balanced scoring with guard Max Strus chipping in 16 markers, P.J. Tucker adding 17 and guard Kyle Lowry contributing 11 in his first appearance in the series. Veteran forward Jimmy Butler had 8 points before he was sidelined with a right knee inflammation.
Boston mounted a furious rally and crept to within one late in the fourth quarter but the Heat, seasoned by years of experience, kept their composure to come to within two games of another NBA Finals appearance.
Jaylen Brown led Celtics with 40 points, Al Horford added 20 while defensive ace Marcus Smart scored 16. All-Star Jayson Tatum managed only 10 points on 3-for-14 shooting.
The Heat posted 46.7% on field goals (43-for-92) and 33.3% on three-balls (11-for-33 conversion) while the Boston had 48.6% FG (34-for-70) and 37.5% (12-for-32) on three-pointers.
Game 4 is Monday night in Boston.