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SPORTS

Herro Scores 24, Heat Hit Franchise Playoff-Record 23 3s to Beat Boston and Even Series 1-1

BOSTON (AP) — The Miami Heat beat Boston with an unprecedented barrage of 3-pointers on Wednesday night to erase the home-court advantage the Celtics worked all season to establish.

Tyler Herro had 24 points and 14 assists, hitting six of Miami’s 23 3-pointers — the most in a playoff game in franchise history — to lead the Heat to a 111-101 victory over top-seeded Boston and tie the first-round playoff series at one game apiece.

“It was a very good response,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. “And then we also made some shots. It always looks better when you make shots.”

Bam Adebayo had 21 points and 10 rebounds, and new Celtics nemesis Caleb Martin also had 21 points for the Heat, who shot 53.5% (23 of 43) from beyond the arc to bounce back after a Game 1 blowout. That broke Miami’s playoff record of 20 3-pointers, set against the Bucks in the 2021 first round.

“They obviously made a conscious effort to have free reign to shoot more,” Celtics coach Joe Mazzulla said.

And shoot and shoot and shoot.

Playing their third straight game without playoff stalwart Jimmy Butler, who was injured in the opening play-in game, Miami shot better than 50% from 3-point range in each of the first three quarters (and a still productive 4 of 10 in the fourth).

After Boston cut an 11-point lead to six, 102-96, with 3:16 to play, Martin hit a 3 and Boston never got as close as two possessions again.

“You have to take ‘em, based on how they were playing us the first two games,” said Spoelstra, who saw Boston hit 22 3-pointers to Miami’s 12 in the opener. “I did not want to get annihilated in that department like we did the game before.”

Jaylen Brown scored 33 points for Boston. Jayson Tatum scored 28, showing no ill-effects of Martin’s hard foul that sent him crashing to the floor with under a minute to play in Boston’s 114-94 victory on Sunday.

Miami Heat center Bam Adebayo, right, drives to the basket against the Boston Celtics during the second half of Game 2 of an NBA basketball first-round playoff series, Wednesday, April 24, 2024, in Boston. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)

Tatum got up off the parquet floor.

But so did Miami.

“It seemed we couldn’t get them to miss,” Brown said. “They had a record-breaking night. … They made a lot of shots that usually we’re comfortable with.”

The series moves to Miami for Games 3 and 4 on Saturday and Monday.

“It’s always a good thing if you can get one on the road,” Martin said. “You always look to try to steal one. We were able to do that.”

The Celtics won 64 games in the regular season to claim home-court advantage through the NBA Finals, but they didn’t make very good use of it on Wednesday despite a crowd that was still fired up over seeing their star land hard in the series opener.

Tatum had his first career playoff triple-double on Sunday, scoring 23 points with 10 rebounds and 10 assists in game in which Boston led by as many as 34 points in the fourth quarter. But the big question was how he would bounce back after getting undercut by Martin while going after a rebound.

Tatum started Game 2 and had 14 points in the first quarter. And Martin was heartily booed every time he touched the ball.

It only seemed to energize him and the Heat, who needed to win a play-in game to earn the right to face the Celtics.

“He’s a competitor. He’s the ultimate X factor,” Spoelstra said. “He’s the X factor of X factors.”

Miami led by five, 55-50, with two minutes left in the first half before Brown hit three straight 3-pointers to open a four-point lead. Brown missed a 3 the next time down, but his layup in the final seconds made it 61-58 at the half.

Miami went on a 10-0 run to take an 82-70 lead with under four minutes to play in the third before the Celtics cut it to six.

“We knew it wasn’t going to be easy,” Tatum said. “There’s a lot of history between these two franchises, especially recently. … It’s never going to go exactly as people expect it to go and that’s the beauty of it.”

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