Miami moves one win away from NBA Finals, strangles Boston in one-sided Game 3 win

Can you feel the Heat, Miami nation? (D.A Varela via

By Leobert Julian A. de la Peña

Well, from a 3% chance of winning to a 3-0 lead. You just can’t count Miami out folks.

The Cinderella story of the Miami Heat organization continues in the ongoing NBA Playoffs after moving on the cusp of another championship series when they crushed the Boston Celtics in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference finals, 128-102, last May 22, 2023.

Playing in front of their electric home fans at the Kaseya Center after two grueling games in Boston, the Heat did not let their supporters down after playing disciplined basketball for four-straight quarters and just clinched a dominant 3-0 series advantage over the heavily-favored Celtics squad.

The Heat only trailed three times during the entire game and immediately went off to the races after Gabe Vincent knocked down a corner three-pointer at the 5:07 mark of the opening quarter.

After the Vincent trey, Miami quickly took control of the game and never trailed, following up a strong first-quarter finish with a hot second-frame start that helped balloon their lead to as much as 22 points after Duncan Robinson converted a triple.

Despite ending the second quarter on a high note, Boston still wasn’t able to solve the Miami surge as the Heat was successful in protecting their double-digit lead the whole second half.

The Celtics had a new lease on life after Marcus Smart trimmed their deficit to just 12 points off a three-point play but Jimmy Butler and the Heat always had answers and came out firing the next 10 minutes.

Boston just got no solution to Miami and saw themselves in a 31-point hole entering the last quarter of Game 3.

Coach Joe Mazzulla, Boston’s chief tactician, then waved the white flag early in the fourth after resting his big stars in the final 12 minutes, looking to preserve them in the win-or-go-home Game 4 on May 24, 2023.

Vincent top-scored the Heat with 29 big points built from an impressive 6/9 shooting from the three-point territory alongside three assists, two rebounds, one block, and a steal.

Meanwhile, Butler only played a total of 31 minutes because of the one-sided game but still provided efficient numbers of 16 markers, eight rebounds, and six assists.

It was a horrible shooting night for the higher-seeded Boston squad after only draining 11 of their 42 total attempts from downtown and capped off their loss with a disappointing 39/98 from the field.

Can the Celtics steal a game on the road to keep their NBA post-season campaign alive or will the Heat sweep them and join the 1999 New York Knicks as the only eighth-seed teams to punch a ticket to the NBA finals?