The Miami Heat came out firing but the Indiana Pacers weren't going down without a fight.
After trailing by as many as 20 points, the Pacers came roaring back to come within two points in the fourth quarter.
Led by All-Stars Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo, as well as veteran guard Goran Dragic, the Heat were able to hold off Indiana's comeback to take a 3-0 series lead. Four different Miami players scored over 20 points in a balanced effort to come out on top.
For more on Game 3, we have you covered with some post-game points below.
1. The Heat's closing lineup
Miami has gotten so much help from younger players like Duncan Robinson, Tyler Herro and Kendrick Nunn all season. While Robinson and Herro both made their impact felt in this game, it's worth noting the lineup that head coach Erik Spoelstra used to close out this tight contest.
Goran Dragic, Jimmy Butler, Jae Crowder, Andre Iguodala and Bam Adebayo. Four veterans and an All-Star centre that carries himself with the swagger of a veteran.
This lineup has it all - switchability on defence, a scoring punch on offence and most importantly, guys that have been there in the playoffs before.
On offence, they put the ball in Butler's hands, trusting he'd consistently make the right decision and he did. On defence, they forced back-to-back turnovers in the final minutes to put the game away.
This won't be the last time we see that five close out a game this postseason.
2. Brogdon's breakout game
Brogdon averaged 19.5 points and 9.5 assists over the first two games of the series, but his typical efficiency wasn't there. For a player that had a 50-40-90 season just a year ago, Brogdon was shooting an uncharacteristic 31.3% from the field, 25.0% from 3 and 84.2% from the free throw line with his team down 0-2.
In Game 3, he finally got back to his usual, efficient self.
Brogdon was the catalyst that kept the Pacers in the contest, going for 34 points, 14 assists and seven rebounds. He shot 11-for-17 (64.7%) from the field, 4-for-7 (57.1%) from 3 and a perfect 8-for-8 from the free throw line to lead Indiana.
FIRE AWAY @MALCOLMBROGDON7 🔥 pic.twitter.com/hSddmmsw5T- Indiana Pacers (@Pacers) August 22, 2020
Unfortunately, his big game came in another losing effort as the Pacers will have to win out to avoid elimination.
3. Miami's first-half 3-point shooting sets the tone
The Heat have destroyed the Pacers with the 3-ball in this series and this game was no different.
Miami wasted no time getting comfortable from beyond the arc, going 11-for-20 (55.5%) from deep to build a commanding 18-point lead at the half. Goran Dragic led the way with four 3s, followed by known sharpshooters Duncan Robinson and Tyler Herro each knocking down two.
Their 11 makes set a franchise playoff record for 3s in a half.
The most threes we've ever hit in a playoff half:- Miami HEAT (@MiamiHEAT) August 22, 2020
They'd only make two (!) 3-pointers in the second half, but their first-half lead - thanks to their prolific perimeter shooting - gave them plenty of breathing room when the Pacers came charging back.
4. Pacers' third quarter
Indiana had trouble defending in the first half and their offence couldn't exactly keep up, either. After allowing 40 points in the second quarter alone, the Pacers went into halftime trailing by 18 points with the fear of going down 3-0 in the series staring them in the face.
Playing with the attitude that their season is on the line, Indiana looked like a completely different team in the third quarter to bring this game within striking distance. They held the Heat to just 20 points in the third frame, keying in on their perimeter scoring by forcing Miami to go 1-for-9 from 3 in the period.
It was a balanced scoring effort as six different players had five or more points and Indiana turned that 18-point halftime deficit into a much more manageable four-point deficit heading into the final quarter.
5. Rookie Herro is not afraid of the moment
Tyler Herro has had a fantastic rookie campaign and he hasn't looked like much of a rookie at all in this playoff series.
After scoring 15 points off the bench in each of the Heat's first two wins of the series, he went on to produce a new playoff career-high in Game 3 with 20 points to give Miami's second unit a shot in the arm.
👶🐐 @raf_tyler going off rn- Miami HEAT (@MiamiHEAT) August 22, 2020
15 Pts & counting pic.twitter.com/xIm0i4CjdM
6. Sabonis returning to the bubble, but not the court
Just before tip-off of Game 3, Pacers' head coach Nate McMillan told reporters that All-Star forward Domantas Sabonis will return to the bubble today and will be forced to quarantine for "a few days."
Sabonis left the bubble back in July to rehab plantar fasciitis in his left foot, but per ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski, it doesn't appear as though he's ready to resume basketball activities.
It isn't believed Indiana All-Star F/C Domantas Sabonis has been able to engage in basketball activity for past 6 weeks rehabbing plantar fasciitis and sources say there's no expectation he'll rejoin active roster should Pacers still be alive once he clears quarantine this week.- Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) August 22, 2020
It looks like the Pacers will have to advance past the first round and maybe beyond if they're going to get their star back on the floor.
7. Heat look to pull off first sweep since 2014
Miami has not won a playoff series since they defeated the Charlotte Hornets in seven games back in 2016.
If you're looking for the last time they swept a series, you'll have to go all the way back to 2014 when the Big Three-era Heat defeated the Charlotte Bobcats in a clean four-game sweep.
8. What's next?
The Heat will look to cap off the series sweep against the Pacers with Game 4 set for Tuesday, Aug. 25th.
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