The Boston Celtics finally showed why they’re the defending East champions by soundly beating the Miami Heat in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference finals. After getting accused of quitting in Game 3, the Celtics trounced the Heat to stave off elimination.
Boston forward Jayson Tatum shook out his lethargic series by dropping 25 of his 33 points in the second half. Tatum was directly involved in 40 of Boston’s 66 points in the said half. When the Celtics needed a key basket, he usually saved them.
The Boston Celtics’ 3-point shooting also returned. After hitting just 29.8% from deep, Boston’s shooters woke up just in time to keep themselves alive. They hit 40% of their 3-pointers (18-45) to break through in the series against the Miami Heat.
On the flip side, Miami’s deadly sniping deserted them in Game 4. They averaged 47.7% in the first three games, the best in the entire playoffs, before making just 25% (8-32) in their loss. The Heat weren’t an excellent shooting team in the regular season so the law of averages may have finally caught up with them.
Jimmy Butler and his teammates didn’t sound very concerned after the loss. They know they are an elite road team that has already beaten the Celtics twice at TD Garden.
Where to watch
Game 5 of the series between the Miami Heat and the Boston Celtics will start at 8:30 p.m. at TD Garden. TNT will air the game on national TV. Basketball fans can also catch the action by streaming the game via the NBA League Pass.
Marcus Smart and Jaylen Brown told the media that the Miami Heat should just close them out. The Boston Celtics, after winning Game 4, aren’t completely back into the series but they’re in a much better shape than before. The complex of the series could totally change if they win Game 5 to cut Miami’s lead to 3-2.
Jayson Tatum has been spectacular in elimination games. He is averaging 27.5 points, 8.4 rebounds and 5.7 assists in 14 such games in his career. In Game 7 against the Philadelphia 76ers, he exploded for 51 points and had 33 in Game 4 against Miami.
Game 5 will yet be another must-win situation for the reigning All-Star Game MVP. Tatum disappointed home fans in the first two games of the series. He can’t afford to do the same on Thursday night.
Jaylen Brown, who has been a shell of his All-Star self in this series, could be due for a big game. If the Celtics get that from him and Tatum’s performance does not drop off, Boston could rout Miami.
On the other hand, Jimmy Butler, during his postgame interview after the loss, was almost too sure the Miami Heat will not have another breakdown. After what they have shown in the playoffs, not many will be counting them out.
Miami committed several uncharacteristic errors down the stretch. Heat coach Erik Spoelstra surely noted that and challenged his team to keep their poise.
Also read: Jimmy Butler Draft: Boston Celtics missed on picking 6x All-Star in 2011 NBA draft
Spread: Celtics: (-7.5)
Total (O/U): 214.5
Moneyline: Heat (+245) vs. Celtics (-300)
The Boston Celtics got a morale-boosting win on the Miami Heat’s home floor. They didn’t have their best game but still came out on top. It could be the shot in the arm that they desperately needed.
Boston will come out on top to cut Miami’s lead in the conference finals to 3-2.
Boston Celtics 120, Miami Heat 112