Celtics vs Heat score, takeaway: Boston rebounds, blasts Miami in Game 4 to tie Eastern Finals

The Eastern Conference Finals are now tied after the Boston Celtics outscored the Miami Heat in Game 4 to claim a 102-82 win on Monday night. It was never really close, as Boston capitalized on Miami’s shooting struggles to hold a 24-point lead until halftime and never looked back from there. Jayson Tatum led the way for the Celtics with 31 points, eight rebounds and five assists, but it was very much a team effort as four of Boston’s five starters scored in double figures.

Victor Oladipo took on the scoring charge for the Heat by finishing with 23 points. The Heat struggled all night to get anything on offense, and as a result, they will now return to Miami with the series tied at two games apiece. Game 5 takes place in Miami on Wednesday as both teams try to take the lead in a back-and-forth battle.

Here are three takeaways from Boston’s blowout win over Miami in Game 4.

1. Bouncing evening for Tatum

Tatum finished Game 3 with just 10 points in 40 minutes of action. The Heat defended him incredibly well in this contest, as he shot just 21.4 percent from the field and went 1 of 7 from 3-point territory. His lackluster performance was a major reason the Celtics lost that game, despite Jaylen Brown leaving for 40 points. So it was obvious that Tatum would try to get an early start in Game 4 to avoid a repeat of his previous game’s performance.

Fast forward to Monday night and Tatum surpassed his points total from the previous game with two minutes left in the first quarter. He wasn’t just making easy shots – something he struggled with in Game 3 – but he was also knocking down incredibly tough looks despite Miami’s defense draped over him. Several times he drove to the edge and twisted his body just enough to avoid potential blocks from Bam Adebayo and finish strong at the edge. He always struggled to get things done from long range, but he relished what the Heat gave him at the edge and mid-range. It’s exactly the type of performance the Celtics needed from Tatum after a disappointing Game 3 performance, and his aggressive play from start to finish helped his team come back even in this series before resuming the game. road.

2. A historically bad night on offense for the Heat

Miami started Game 4 missing its first 14 straight shots and trailed 17 points in the process. A triple by Oladipo with 3:22 left in the first quarter ended that drought, but by then Boston had already taken a 14-point lead, and the game really ended from there. moment. Miami scored just one point in the first eight minutes of the game. fewest points by a playoff team over the last 25 years of the league. To make matters worse, Miami’s 11 points in the first quarter were the lowest in franchise history. The Heat finished the night shooting just 33.3 percent from the field and 38.9 percent from 3-point territory, and as a result, this game was over with a few minutes left in the third quarter.

So yeah, you could say it was a tough day at the office for the Heat. Those shooting struggles only amplified the importance of Tyler Herro on this team, who was sidelined for Game 4 with a groin injury. Herro’s ability to create his own shot, while creating scoring opportunities for his teammates is integral to Miami’s success, and his absence was deafening on Monday night. Oladipo did his best to fill that void on the bench as he led all Heat scorers with 23 points, but when Bam Adebayo, Kyle Lowry and Butler combine for just 18 points, Miami won’t win many games. . Those 18 points by the Heat’s starters were the fewest scored by a team’s starting lineup in a playoff game since the 1970-71 season. Tatum, meanwhile, scored more runs (31) than all five Miami starters combined (18).

Although the Heat struggled a lot in Game 4, it should be mentioned that Butler, Lowry, Gabe Vincent, Max Strus and PJ Tucker all appeared on the injury report in addition to Herro before this game. Butler struggled with knee inflammation and didn’t play in the second half of Game 3 because of it, so it’s unclear how much it affected his performance on Monday night. With each team remaining in the playoffs dealing with a variety of injuries, it was clear Monday night that some of Miami’s players were feeling the effects of this nonstop playoff schedule. We’ll have to see how the Heat react in Game 5 at home because if they show up playing like they did in Game 4, they should expect the same result again.

3. This series comes and goes

The story of this series has been knowing which team can go on the run and keep it going. In Game 1, Miami edged Boston by 24 points in the third quarter, which ended up being the difference in this contest. In Game 2, the Celtics returned the favor by outscoring the Heat by 25 points in the second half and keeping their foot on the gas in that victory. Miami responded in Game 3 with a 39-point first-quarter performance that helped them lead into what ended up being a tightly contested game.

With Boston breaking out in Game 4, the theme of the winning team taking a huge lead continued and as this series returns to Miami for Game 5, we’ll have to see if that trend continues. Not how I expected this series to go given how formidable both teams can be on defense. So the idea of ​​either team getting those huge leads that for the most part made the difference in the game was really surprising. It looks like neither team was able to establish game-to-game consistency, so that trend will likely continue for the rest of this series. So if you’re the Heat, despite the poor showing in Game 4, you have to feel good about your chances of bouncing back given the choppy nature of this series.


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