Celtics-Heat Takeaways: C's Embarrassed by Heat in Game 3 Loss

No team has ever come back from being down 0-3 in an NBA playoff series.

Game 3 takeaways: C's on brink of elimination after embarrassing loss originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston

The Boston Celtics are on the verge of being swept out of the 2023 NBA playoffs.

After dropping Games 1 and 2 at home, the C's were utterly outclassed by the Miami Heat in Sunday's Game 3 at Kaseya Center. Miami dominated the first three quarters and had the Celtics waving the white flag with their reserves in the fourth quarter of the lopsided affair. The Heat earned a 128-102 win to put Boston down 0-3 in the Eastern Conference Finals series.

POSTGAME POD: Celtics pushed to the brink after blowout loss in Game 3 | Listen & Subscribe

Six Heat players scored in double figures during their lopsided win. Gabe Vincent led all scorers with 29 points while Duncan Robinson (22 points) and Caleb Martin (18 points) enjoyed big nights off the bench. Jimmy Butler was kept relatively quiet with 16 points on 5-of-16 shooting, but it didn't matter with Miami's role players taking over.

Jayson Tatum (14 points) and Jaylen Brown (12 points) led the C's in scoring despite their abysmal offensive performances. Grant Williams also notched 12 in his 27 minutes off the bench.

No team has ever come back from being down 0-3 in an NBA playoff series. The Celtics will look to become the first, starting with Tuesday's Game 4 in Miami.

Here are three quick takeaways from Sunday's loss.

Torched by Heat role players

The Celtics struggled to get stops throughout Game 3. They allowed the Heat to shoot a ridiculous 56.8 percent from the floor, including 54.3 percent (19-of-35) from 3-point range. Much of that damage was done not by Jimmy Butler, but by Miami's role players.

Caleb Martin (11 points), Duncan Robinson (10 points), and Gabe Vincent (10 points) -- each undrafted -- lit Boston up in the first half. They set the tone early for the Heat with their 3-point shooting as they were a combined 7-for-12 from beyond the arc through the first two frames.

They carried that momentum into the second half. Vincent went off for 19 more points to finish with 29 on 11-of-14 shooting. He hit six of his nine 3-point attempts.

Robinson ended up with 22 points on 7-of-11 shooting, including 5-for-7 from 3. Martin also shot 7-for-11 from the field (4-7 3-PT) to tally 18 total points. The trio's performance helped to take pressure off Jimmy Butler, who was outstanding in Games 1 and 2.

Meanwhile, the Celtics bench was mostly shut down before the reserves entered in garbage time. Malcolm Brogdon was held scoreless and 0-for-6 from the field. Robert Williams found himself in foul trouble and finished with eight points (4-8 FG).

The Jays held in check

The Celtics needed their superstars to step up and get the series back on track, but neither Jayson Tatum nor Jaylen Brown could get it going in the crucial Game 3 showdown.

They were a combined 9-of-24 from the floor (1-7 3-PT) with five turnovers and zero free-throw attempts in the first half. Usually, at least one of the two finds their groove after a slow start. However, that was not the case this time as their woes continued, leading to Boston being blown out in a must-win matchup.

To put their struggles in perspective, Gabe Vincent scored more points (29) as Tatum and Brown combined (26).

Brown was 0-for-7 from beyond the arc. He is now 2-for-20 from 3-point range in the series.

Adding insult to injury

The Heat are humiliating the Celtics in this series and they're letting them know all about it.

Jimmy Butler, personifying the Michael Jordan "and I took that personally" meme, trolled Boston on multiple occasions during Sunday's game. His first target was Grant Williams, who he exchanged pleasantries with during Miami's Game 2 win.

Late in the second quarter, Butler pointed at Williams after hitting a tough shot over him and drawing the foul.

Then in the third quarter, after Vincent hit a 3 that gave the Heat a 23-point lead, Butler trolled Al Horford by using his Game 1 "timeout" celebration against him.

Credit where it's due, Miami has earned every right to trash-talk during an embarrassing three games for Boston.

Butler's taunt was the icing on the cake for what has been a rough all-around series for Horford. The veteran is 7-for-34 (20.6 percent) from 3 since his "elite shooter" remark on May 5.

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