It’s not over, folks. The Boston Celtics refused to get swept. After three-straight defeats, with one more embarrassing than the other, the men from Beantown pulled one out of their bag and will live to fight another day. Laker fans probably hoped their bitter rivals will receive the broom too, but that simply wasn’t in the cards.
The Celtics won, 116-99, undoubtedly a good redeemer from their horrendous Game 3 loss, where they got steamrolled early en route to a 26-point blowout.
Game 4 was a 180 of the previous game, from their body language up to how they confidently moved across the court. They also didn’t keep their head down when Miami made their patented runs.
Things started to tilt on the Celtics’ side in the third quarter, where they were down 61-52 and suddenly blasted 18 unanswered points in a three-minute stretch to flip it and go up by nine themselves, 70-61. They outscored the Heat in the period, 38-23, thanks in good part to going 7-for-12 from beyond the arc and pairing it with great effort on defense.
From there, they kept their poise and calmly answered every Heat run, including one on the 9:22 mark of the fourth quarter where it was 88-83 after a Jimmy Butler basket and the Miami crowd gaining energy. Celtics All-Star Jayson Tatum proceeded to remind everyone who he is, and that he’ll make sure the series will go back to Boston. With his help, they increased it to 12 and kept it within a considerable distance.
Jayson Tatum came alive in the fourth, finally
This may be tough to believe, but Tatum came into Game 4 with a grand total of 11 points on 0-for-3 shooting in the fourth quarter of the series – yes, the series! It should be noted that in Game 1, his attempts weren’t counted as it turned into Heat fouls, while in Game 3, he sat out the final frame as it was a blowout, but still. That was woeful.
Nevertheless, he came alive in the fourth period of Game 4 to put an icing on a great performance while facing elimination. He scored 11 in the quarter, most of which were insurance baskets that killed any Heat comeback hopes. In total, he had 25 of his game-high 33 points in the second half, shot 14-for-22 from the floor, and added 11 rebounds, seven assists, one steal, and two blocks, putting him at a +20 for the contest.
He reached some franchise records too:
Balanced attack from the supporting cast, and sprinkled with defense
What also sealed the deal was the supporting cast showing up and firing away, which came just in time as number two man Jaylen Brown was a bit quiet (17 points, 7/16 FGs).
Al Horford, Marcus Smart, Derrick White, and Grant Williams combined for 13 three-pointers, five more than what the entire Heat team had. Each scored in double-digits and collectively helped neutralize Miami’s attack, especially the streaking Caleb Martin who went into halftime a perfect 6-for-6 for 14 points – they hounded him and went just 0-for-3 for two points the rest of the way. They then clamped on Bam Adebayo, who only had 10 points with four turnovers and was held scoreless in the first, third, and fourth quarters.
Pressure on the Heat?
The series will go back to Boston with the Celtics having momentum on their side, so with that, a cloud of pressure is starting to hover around the Heat, who could be peppered with desperation moving forward. It should be interesting to see how both squads would respond from the very contrasting aftermath of Game 4.