Game 4 is poised to be a war as the Boston Celtics are looking to even things up at 2-2 and officially steal the momentum, while the Miami Heat are aiming to put a stranglehold on the series.
Catch the game on September 24, at 9:30 AM, Manila time.
HOME TEAM: #5 Miami Heat (2-1)
The recently surging Heat came back to earth in Game 3. They finally failed to dominate or complete a comeback as they just got clamped Celtics, 117-106. It was only their second defeat in the postseason.
Hopefully, the entire Heat team share the sentiments of their All-Star, Jimmy Butler, who said that he’s tired of constantly trying to climb out of big deficits. Butler, however, should know that he’s part of the problem, particularly in Game 4. He got it going in the fourth period, but it was after three quarters of sloppy basketball, so it proved to be too late.
With Goran Dragic also experiencing an off-night (11 pts, 2/11 shooting), two of the top youngsters emerged and picked up the slack: Red-hot rookie Tyler Herro chipped in 22 points with four threes off the bench, while Bam Adebayo had workhorse numbers of 27 points, 16 rebounds, three steals, and two blocks.
Both are good, but it doesn’t have to be like that. In fact, for a team like Miami, such a line sometimes mean the majority were not in rhythm. The bottom line is the Heat will have to figure out how the dynamic has really changed now that Gordon Hayward is in the fold.
The Heat are averaging 109.7 PPG in the series.
ROAD TEAM: #3 Boston Celtics (1-2)
The Celtics avoided sinking in a deep, deep hole with that gritty Game 3 win. They played with urgency and were able to erase the doubts of the locker room drama last week. Now, they’re wrestling the momentum away from the Heat.
As per usual, Boston’s high-scoring trio led the charge, as Jayson Tatum, Kemba Walker, and Jaylen Brown all scored 20-plus points. Expect them to keep headlining the attack. As a welcomed surprise, though, they’re being joined by their All-Defensive guard, Marcus Smart, who’s been having a great postseason and is averaging 20 PPG in the series.
Then, there’s also the return of Gordon Hayward off an ankle injury. The 30-year-old played 31 minutes in Game 3, and though looked underwhelming on paper (6 pts, 5 rebs, 4 ast, 3 stls, 1 blk), his presence and hustle was very much in effect.
The key now is to maintain the energy, and keep frustrating Butler and Dragic. It led to good opportunities as it disrupted Miami’s entire play.
The Celtics are averaging 110.7 PPG on the series.
The Celtics look different with Hayward on deck, and it may be better to trust their healthy core for now. Expect them to keep pounding the ball inside (60 points in the paint in Game 3), harassing Butler and Dragic.
Boston wins, 113-108, to tie the series at two apiece.