After trailing by six at halftime, the Celtics outscored the Miami Heat by 23 points in the second half to send the Eastern Conference Finals back to Boston for a fifth game. Jayson Tatum had a bounce-back after a poor Game 3 performance, scoring 33 points and adding 11 rebounds while shooting 14-for-22 from the field. Tatum wasn’t very active early on but made his presence felt in the second half, where he scored 25 of his 33 points.
Photo Credit: Sporting News
Trailing 61-52 in the third quarter, Boston embarked on an 18-0 scoring run that completely shifted the momentum and potentially the series. The run started with Tatum hitting back-to-back deep 3-pointers before Derrick White and Marcus Smart added 3-pointers. The third quarter was the first time the Celtics showed life in the series.
The Celtics spread the ball on offense well, as six players attempted six or more 3-pointers. One of those six was Grant Williams, who made an impact off the bench with 14 points and six rebounds. Williams played 29 minutes, the most he played in the 2023 postseason.
Photo Cred: Toronto Star
Boston Head Coach Joe Mazzula opted to go with Williams over Malcolm Brogdon for most of the game. Brogdon is averaging over 25 minutes played this postseason. The Celtics did a great job of finding the open man and taking care of the ball, finishing with an assist-to-turnover ratio of 28/10 compared to 18/16 for the Heat. Miami shot just 25% from 3-point range.
Jimmy Butler led the Heat with 29 points and nine rebounds in the losing effort. Caleb Martin was once again a problem for the Celtic defense. Martin scored 16 points on 6-for-9 shooting from the field. Jaylen Brown struggled offensively, scoring 17 points off his 16 shot attempts. Brown will need to get back in his groove offensively if the Celtics have hope to win the series.
Photo Credit: USA Today
It has never happened in the history of the NBA, but the Celtics made their first step towards an unlikely comeback from being down 3-0. The series will continue Thursday Night in Boston in front of a sold-out TD Garden. The Celtics are currently 8.5-point favorites in Game 5 by DraftKings Sportsbook. If the Celtics win at home, the two teams travel back to Miami to play a pivotal Game 6. The Denver Nuggets await the winner of the series. They clinched their ticket to the NBA Finals with a 4-0 sweep of the Los Angeles Lakers.