Celtics restore order with Game 3 win over Heat to take 2-1 series lead. Takeaways and details

The Miami Heat’s momentum in the series was short-lived.

After the Heat stole home-court advantage and evened the series 1-1 in Game 2 on Wednesday, the top-seeded Boston Celtics restored order with a dominant 104-84 victory over the eighth-seeded Heat in Game 3 on Saturday night at Kaseya Center.

Not only did the Celtics take a 2-1 lead in the best-of-7 first-round playoff series, but they also regained home-court advantage with the victory.

“They set the tone with their disposition,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said of the Celtics. “... They were the more physical team. They bodied us, bullied us on screens, got through stuff, distorted screens, everything, flattened us out. ... So you have to credit them for that. They were the more physical team, the team with more physicality and force on both ends of the court.”

Saturday’s 84 points is a new season-low for the Heat. It’s also the fewest points that the Heat has scored in any game since the 2022 Eastern Conference finals.

It was ugly for the short-handed Heat from the start on Saturday, opening the game just 1 of 13 from the field and 0 of 6 on threes.

The Heat totaled just 12 points in the first quarter on 5-of-21 (23.8 percent) shooting from the field and 1-of-9 shooting (11.1 percent) from three-point range. But the Celtics only ended the opening period with a nine-point lead because they also struggled to make shots, scoring 21 points on 9-of-24 (37.5 percent) shooting from the field and 3-of-10 (30 percent) shooting from behind the arc in the first quarter.

The problem for the Heat is the Celtics’ offensive issues ended there. Boston totaled 42 points on 15-of-23 (65.2 percent) shooting from the field and 5-of-11 (45.5 percent) shooting on threes in the second quarter to break the game open and take a commanding 24-point lead into halftime.

The Heat scored just 39 points and committed nine turnovers in the first half.

How bad was it for the Heat?

Saturday’s 12-point first quarter is the Heat’s lowest-scoring opening quarter in any game since scoring just 11 points in a Game 4 loss to the Celtics in the 2022 East finals.

Saturday’s 39-point first half is the Heat’s second-lowest-scoring first half of the season.

The Heat trailed by more than 20 points for most of the second half, as the Celtics’ lead grew to as large as 29 points. Miami never held a lead in the game.

“I don’t think we really brought that dog tonight like we did in Game 2, where we set the tone from the jump,” Heat center Bam Adebayo said. “We didn’t do that tonight. So obviously, when you don’t have that type of dog mentality, you can get blown out by 20.”

Without its best player Jimmy Butler because of a knee injury, the Heat finished the loss with just 84 points on 41.6 percent shooting from the field and 9-of-28 (32.1 percent) shooting from three-point range while committing 12 costly turnovers that the Celtics turned into 24 points.

Adebayo recorded team-highs in points (20) and rebounds (9) for the Heat. He’s the only Heat player who scored more than 15 points on Saturday

The Celtics used a balanced offensive attack. Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum each scored 22 points, Kristaps Porzingis added 18 points and Derrick White contributed 16 points.

The Celtics won Game 3 despite shooting just 11 of 37 (29.7 percent) on threes.

Game 4 of the series is Monday at Kaseya Center (7:30 p.m., TNT and Bally Sports Sun).

“We’ll get to work tomorrow and work on getting a better version of ourselves for Monday night, which we’re fully capable of,” Spoelstra said.

Five takeaways from the Heat’s loss to the Celtics on Saturday:

After putting together a historic three-point shooting display in Game 2, the Heat’s offense was bad in Game 3.

In Wednesday’s Game 2 win in Boston: The Heat set a franchise record for threes made in a playoff game, shooting 23 of 43 (53.5 percent) from three-point range. It’s also the most threes the Heat has made in a game this season, tied for the second-most threes the Heat has made in any game in franchise history and tied for the fourth-most threes any team has hit in a playoff game in NBA history.

In Saturday’s Game 3 loss in Miami: The Heat shot just 9 of 28 (32.1 percent) from three-point range. Miami made 14 fewer threes and took 15 fewer threes than in Game 2.

Some of the Heat’s three-point attempts from Game 2 turned into midrange attempts in Game 3. After taking 24 non-rim twos in its Game 2 win, the Heat took 31 non-rim twos in Game 3 as Boston made adjustments to turn Miami’s shot profile into a more inefficient one.

It didn’t help that the Heat committed nine turnovers in the first half, allowing the Celtics to build a big lead and take control of the game. Boston scored 19 points off Miami’s nine first-half turnovers.

“I feel like honestly we just made mistake after mistake on offense,” Adebayo said. “Not communicating, throwing the ball away. Like just turnovers that shouldn’t happen in the playoffs. We need to check that box.”

The Heat closed Saturday’s loss with an offensive rating of just 97.7 points scored per 100 possessions. Miami fell to 1-11 this season when posting an offensive rating under 100 points scored per 100 possessions.

“I thought they picked up the pressure, tried to speed us up, take us out of our offense, extend our catches,” Heat guard Tyler Herro said of the Celtics’ defense. “I thought they did a good job of that, especially in that first half. We were moving too fast and not taking our time. It wasn’t the same offensive outlook that we had in the second game in the series.”

Butler said he wants to play in the playoffs, but there’s still no timetable for his return.

Butler missed his fourth straight game on Saturday with a sprained MCL in his right knee. After Butler suffered the injury during the Heat’s loss to the 76ers in Philadelphia in the NBA’s play-in tournament on April 17, the Heat announced he would miss “several weeks.”

“I don’t know about a timeline, but we’ve been working,” Butler said Saturday in an interview with TNT’s Chris Haynes during the broadcast of the game. “I want to hoop. I want to get out here. I want some of this.”

While a return during the first round against the Celtics appears unlikely for Butler, he still has faith that his Heat teammates can make it a competitive series.

“I think we believe. It’s everybody else that don’t,” Butler said to Haynes. “If I’ve got to hear one more praise about Boston on national TV when we win a game, I’m tired of hearing that, man.”

Along with missing Butler, the Heat remained without Terry Rozier (neck spasms) and Josh Richardson (season-ending right shoulder surgery) in Game 3.

The Heat also was without Delon Wright, who was unavailable because of what the Heat listed as a “personal family matter.” Wright played in the first two games of the series, logging 26 minutes in the Heat’s Game 1 loss and 20 minutes in the Heat’s Game 2 win before missing Saturday’s loss.

The Celtics had their full 15-man roster available for Game 3.

Without Butler and Rozier, the Heat is relying on Adebayo, Herro and Caleb Martin to play bigger roles on offense. But they couldn’t replicate their big performances from Game 2.

Adebayo finished Game 3 with 20 points on 8-of-18 shooting from the field, nine rebounds and three assists.

Herro closed Game 3 with 15 points on 5-of-16 shooting from the field and 3-of-9 shooting on threes, two rebounds and two assists.

Martin ended Game 3 with just five points on 2-of-4 shooting from the field and 1-of-2 shooting on threes, three rebounds and two assists.

This trio combined for 40 points on 15-of-38 (39.5 percent) shooting from field on Saturday

This is much different than Game 2, when Adebayo, Herro and Martin combined for 66 points on 23-of-38 (60.5 percent) from the field.

This has not been a series for Heat big man Kevin Love.

Love, who established himself as one of the NBA’s top backup centers this regular season, has seen his playing time dwindle as this series has gone on. After logging 13 minutes in Game 1, Love played just six minutes in Game 2 before playing only four minutes in Saturday’s Game 3.

There’s a reason for this, as the Heat has usually turned to its zone defense with Love in the game. And the Celtics have shredded the Heat’s zone to begin the series.

Love posted a plus/minus of minus-8 in Game 1 and minus-7 in Game 2.

Love again couldn’t produce positive minutes in Game 3, as the Heat was outscored by nine points during a stint that lasted just 3:44 on Saturday. After playing those four minutes in the first half, Love did not re-enter the game.

Instead, the Heat used Thomas Bryant as the backup center in the second half.

“I was looking for a spark once we were down 20,” Spoelstra said of going away from Love on Saturday. “This is not an indictment on anybody. Things move fast in a playoff series.”

In addition, Heat three-point shooting forward Duncan Robinson played just seven minutes off the bench in Game 3 as he continues to deal with a lingering back injury. Robinson, who shot 39.5 percent on seven three-point attempts per game in the regular season, did not put up a shot in the loss.

“I was looking for some kind of spark once we were down 20,” Spoelstra said of not playing Robinson in the second half of Game 3. “Duncan is not going to make an excuse for it, I’m not going to make an excuse for him.”

The Celtics are now in the driver’s seat in the series and can take full control of the series in Game 4.

Entering this year’s playoffs, teams that lose Game 3 of a 1-1 best-of-7 series have gone on to lose the series 73.7 percent of the time (69-193). Unfortunately for the Heat, it now fits that criteria after dropping Saturday’s game.

The last time the Heat lost Game 3 of a 1-1 best-of-7 series and still went on to win the series came in the 2013 NBA Finals against the San Antonio Spurs.

The Heat is in danger of facing even longer odds should it also drop Game 4 in Miami.

Entering this year’s playoffs, teams that fall behind 3-1 in a best-of-7 series have gone on to lose the series 95.4 percent of the time (13-268).