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The Night in the Association: September 19th, 2020

The white hot Miami Heat were not so scorching last night.

The Boston Celtics were able to take down the Miami Heat comfortably in game 3 which featured Gordon Hayward’s return to playoff action in the bubble.

Hayward himself did not have the greatest scoring game. He only scored six points on 38.1% true shooting. Once again, not his best game by any stretch of the imagination, but his impact on the floor was most definitely recognizable. He opened up the floor more which created better spacing for more players to produce in comfort, as seen by the great offensive performances by Jaylen Brown, Jayson Tatum, Kemba Walker, and Marcus Smart.

Gordon Hayward made his impact felt during his 31 minutes of action against the Heat in Boston’s game 3 victory Kim Klement/USA Today Sports

The quartet combined for 92 out of the Celtics 117 points in this contest, and they had a true shooting percentage of 63%, which is well above league average and would be considered elite. They were finding open shots all game and Marcus Smart especially did an excellent job drawing contact and getting to the line.

Unlike the previous matchups, the Celtics were in the driver’s seat throughout this entire game. They were leading by as much as 20 points at one point and never trailed.

The only cause for concern one can take away from the Celtics’ performance is yet again their ability to close down the stretch. They let Miami keep crawling back into this game, narrowing the lead to single digits in the clutch, and luckily for Boston, their lead was big enough to where it was too much for Miami to overcome. In the clutch, Boston had multiple turnovers and got outscored by three points.

For Miami, as a unit, they were just awful offensively.

It starts at the top with their leading playoff scorer in Goran Dragic. Dragic was horrendous, scoring only 11 points on 42% true shooting. That’s just simply unacceptable for someone who is the lead scoring option on a championship contender and it cannot happen again if the Miami Heat want to win this series.

Bam Adebayo was sensational yet again. He scored 27 points on 75% true shooting, grabbed 16 rebounds, and was absolutely sensational defensively tallying three steals, two blocks, and challenging any shot at the rim at an elite level. However, Bam did not get the support he needed from his teammates to win this game, for Miami as a unit shot a true shooting percentage that was below league average.

One must expect game four to be a much better game. Miami is not expected to be this bad offensively again and Gordon Hayward is expected to be a much more integral part of Boston’s offense.

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