UC Santa Barbara’s very own Gabe Vincent had himself a sensational performance to secure Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Finals. 

The undrafted point guard out of Stockton, California recorded a career-high of 29 points and was Miami’s leading scorer in Game 3 of the series, putting the defending Eastern Conference Champions on the verge of elimination. 

Prior to Game 1 of the series, the Heat had a staggering 3% chance of advancing to the finals according to ESPN Analytics, which was short lived after taking Game 1 in Boston with a final score of 123-116. 

Despite going up 1-0 in the series, the odds were still significantly in favor of Boston as the chances of the Heat moving on to the finals remained minimal: 3% to 13%. 

Miami went on to take Game 2 of the series with a final score of 111-105, putting the Celtics at a great disadvantage of heading into Game 3 on the road down 2-0 in the series. 

The Heat picked up right where they left off in their previous two games, finishing the first half on top of the Celtics by 15. 

After coming off of a quiet 9-point performance in Game 2, Vincent went into the locker room with 10 points.

Coming out of the break, Miami continued to pour it on, maintaining a double-digit lead for the entire 24 minutes of the second half and at one point leading by 31 points. 

Vincent quickly caught fire in the second half, scoring 19 points, shooting 79% from the field and going 6-9 from beyond the arc. 

Besides Vincent’s memorable performance, the fourth-year forward Duncan Robinson scored 22 points off the bench along with forward Caleb Martin, who scored 18 points to lead Miami to a blow out victory over Boston with a final score of 128-102. 

Initially struggling to secure a spot in the playoffs after their loss to the Atlanta Hawks in mid-April, the story behind Miami’s historic run this postseason has been centered around veteran forward Jimmy Butler who has been absolutely magnificent in these playoffs, averaging nearly 30 points a game. 

Despite recording his lowest numbers of this postseason in Game 3 with 16 points, remarkable performances by Butler’s teammates led to the Heat being just one game away from returning to the finals for the second time in three seasons. 

Vincent averages 13 points a game this postseason as opposed to 9 in the regular season, and has certainly made a name for himself in the NBA community with his dominating performance in Game 3 to put Miami up 3-0 in the series. 

With the odds now in favor of the Heat advancing to the finals, Boston has put themselves in a position that no team in NBA history has ever successfully gotten themselves out of. 

Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Finals will tip-off Tuesday, May 23 at 5:30 p.m. PST in Miami,  where the Heat look to put away the Celtics and prepare for their matchup against the Denver Nuggets. The Nuggets recently swept the Los Angeles Lakers and secured a trip to the finals for the first time in franchise history. 

A version of this article appeared on p. 7 of the  May 25, 2023 print edition of the Daily Nexus.