Updated April 30th, 2024 at 11:56 IST

Derrick White scores 38, Celtics top Heat 102-88 to take a 3-1 East NBA playoff series lead

Derrick White scored a career-high 38 points, Jayson Tatum added 20 points and 10 rebounds, and the Boston Celtics beat the Miami Heat 102-88 on Monday night to take a 3-1 lead in their Eastern Conference first-round series.

Boston Celtics cruise past Miami Heat | Image:AP
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Derrick White scored a career-high 38 points, Jayson Tatum added 20 points and 10 rebounds, and the Boston Celtics beat the Miami Heat 102-88 on Monday night to take a 3-1 lead in their Eastern Conference first-round series.

Jaylen Brown scored 17 points and Jrue Holiday had 11 for the top-seeded Celtics, who lost Kristaps Porzingis in the first half to what the team said was a right calf injury. Boston won at Miami for the sixth straight time and improved to 14-3 in their last 17 games on the Heat's home floor.

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Bam Adebayo finished with 25 points, 17 rebounds and five assists for Miami, which had a sellout crowd — including Lionel Messi — but played again without injured starters Jimmy Butler (knee) and Terry Rozier (neck). The Heat managed only 84 points in Game 3 and struggled again on offense in Game 4. Tyler Herro scored 19 points and Caleb Martin had 18 for the eighth-seeded Heat.

The Celtics can advance to the second round on Wednesday when they host Game 5. The Boston-Miami winner will meet the Cleveland-Orlando winner in the East semifinals; that Cavaliers-Magic series won't end until at least Friday.

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But the Celtics now have an injury concern, with Porzingis lifting his jersey over his face in exasperation after getting hurt late in the first half. And with 5:04 left, the drama ramped up again when Tatum tried to shoot a 3-pointer after a foul was called. Adebayo defended the dead-ball play, and Tatum rolled his left ankle — but stayed in the game — after Adebayo stepped into his landing area. Referees called a flagrant-1 on Adebayo, and a technical on Al Horford.

The good news for Boston: History says this series is just about over.

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This is the 29th time a Boston team has taken a 3-1 lead in a best-of-seven series. The Celtics won all 28 of the previous series, including seven times in the NBA Finals and a first-round series against Miami in 2010 — the last games the Heat played before luring LeBron James and Chris Bosh to South Florida and forming a superteam around Dwyane Wade.

Miami just couldn't keep up in this one. White had 16 points in the first quarter, when the Celtics built a 34-24 lead. And no matter what the Heat did on defense, the offense couldn't make up any gaps.

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Consider: The Celtics had 34 points after 12 minutes, and it took the Heat almost 23 minutes — nearly the entire first half — to hit the 34-point mark. Miami had only 59 points through three quarters, matching a season low set in Game 1 of this series at Boston.

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Published April 30th, 2024 at 11:56 IST