On Monday, the advantage belonged to Boston from the very beginning. The Celtics lost balls faster, were more active in disrupting pass lanes, and were more coordinated in switches, limiting Miami quality. They were more urgent in returning to defense and rotating in the paint, not allowing the heat to break quickly, as they did on Saturday. Boston’s defense was so effective that Miami hit just two 3-pointers in the first quarter, which limited the chances of making up for the loss until late. It was exactly the kind of energy that Boston missed so much in the first half of Game 3. The Miami Starters averaged 18 points.
What makes the game even weirder is that the Celtics did not play well in attack. They were only 5 for 27 out of 3 when they entered the fourth quarter with 24 points and the game was actually over. They finished the game with 39.7 percent shooting from the field, a percentage that would have resulted in a loss on most nights rather than a win-win. They also won despite a poor play by defender Jalen Brown, who hit 20 5 from the field with 12 points.
Miami, a team that loves to be proud of its fuss culture, conceded 10 offensive rebounds in the first half. Heat center Bam Adebayo, who eventually scored 31 points in Game 3, returned to the test position and hit the ball only twice in the first half. He finished with 9 points. Largely, this was due to the presence of Celtics center Robert William III, who missed the game due to 3 knee pain. Williams, who was named to all the defensive second teams last week, has made life difficult for Miami. He had 12 points and 9 rebounds in just 19 minutes.
“We should not take a fist in the mouth to respond,” Williams said of the team’s poor start to its losses.
Perhaps this game was inevitable. The Celtics have not lost two games in a row throughout the post-season. In the semifinal game against the Milwaukee Bucks, Boston responded with shots with three strong games. No one has shown their fate to the Celtics this post-season other than their best player, Jason Tatum – the superstar of Jekyll and Hyde.
There are nights when Tatum looks like one of the best players in the league. These nights often come from the defeat of Boston. On Monday night’s 31-point game, Tatum averaged 32.6 points after losing to the Celtics in the post-season. He was aggressive in basket attack, reaching the line 16 times more than in any other game in this playoffs.
But when Tetum plays poorly, he looks weirder than most superstars. The shoulders run. He agrees to a difficult retreat, complains to the referees and does not return to the defense aggressively. In the 3rd game against the Bucks, Tatum had only 10 points and struck from 19 of 4 pitches. On Saturday night, Tatum had a similar game – 10 points from 3 to 14 shots.