Miami Heat take a step towards the finals as they secure a victory over the Boston Celtics in the NBA play-offs

The Miami Heat are on the verge of reaching the NBA finals following a convincing 128-102 win over the Boston Celtics in game three of the Eastern Conference finals. With a 3-0 lead in the best-of-seven series, the Heat will host game four on Tuesday (01:30 BST Wednesday).

The eventual winners will face either the Denver Nuggets or the Los Angeles Lakers. The Nuggets currently hold a 3-0 advantage in the Western Conference finals, with game four scheduled for Monday (01:30 BST Tuesday).

Point guard Gabe Vincent led the way for the Heat with 29 points, including six three-pointers. Duncan Robinson and Caleb Martin contributed 22 and 18 points, respectively, off the bench. The Celtics suffered an early blow as veteran Kevin Love exited the game with an ankle injury.

Although star forward Jimmy Butler had a relatively quiet night with 16 points, the Heat dominated both offensively and defensively. They built a 22-point lead in the second quarter and maintained control throughout the game.

Boston struggled with their three-point shooting, with Jayson Tatum making only one of his seven attempts and Jaylen Brown missing all seven of his shots from beyond the arc. Coupled with turnovers, the Celtics faced their largest halftime deficit of the postseason, trailing 61-46.

With Miami holding a commanding 93-63 lead heading into the fourth quarter, the Celtics couldn’t mount a comeback. They went over three minutes in the third period without scoring, sealing their fate in the game.

“I don’t know if surprised is the word,” Vincent said about the one-sided result. “We played well tonight. We defended. We made shots. We forced them into turnovers.

“The next game, the mentality is to come out and compete at a high level, defend, try to make the right read every time offensively and just play good basketball.

“It’s the first to four games. We are not satisfied with three.”

Boston’s Brown said: “I don’t even know where to start. I feel like we let our fan base, organisation down, we let ourselves down, and it was collective. We could point fingers, but in reality, it was just embarrassing.”

No team in NBA history has ever recovered from a 3-0 deficit to win a series.