The Boston Celtics find themselves in the same Conference Finals fate as the Los Angeles Lakers: a 3-0 hole. On Sunday night, Jimmy Butler and the Miami HEAT had it all going, blasting the Celtics 128-102, putting Jayson Tatum and his team on the brink of elimination.

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Butler had 16 points, eight rebounds, and six assists for the night. Gabe Vincent dropped 29 on a game-high six threes, and Bam Adebayo had 13 points composed of highlight poster dunks over Celtics defenders. Superstar All-NBA duo of Tatum and Jaylen Brown had 14 and 12 points, respectively.

At the end of the game, Celtics coach Joe Mazzulla took the blame for the performance on the court.


“I just didn’t have them ready to play,” Mazzulla said. “I have to get them in a better place to be ready to play, and that’s on me.”

He added, “Some of that defensive identity has been lost and we have to get that back.”

On the opposite bench, HEAT hae coach Erik Spoelstra spoke glowingly of Vincent’s performance, just one game away from the NBA Finals.

“I thought he had as much of an impact and put his fingerprints on the win in Game 2 as he did tonight,” Spoelstra said. “One of the games he had four points; another game he had 29. And he has that emotional stability to — you know, he sees guys like Jimmy and Bam [Adebayo], who are the perfect role models.”

Game 4 from Miami is on Tuesday, with the HEAT having the opportunity to close the Celtics out.