His team went down 10 points in the opening minutes, and Boston coach Ime Udoka is making no attempt to hide his frustration.
His message was simple.
“Wake up,” he told his team.
Oh, they heard. And with the Eastern Conference finals all tied up, the series is set to move to Boston, where the Celtics now have a home-court advantage.
Read more: Aussie swimming sensation Jack Stablety-Cook has broken the world record
Read more: Disappointed by the bizarre interpretation of the frustrated Nights Bunker
Read more: Star Ascendant forward has announced his retirement in shock
Jayson Tatum had 27 points, Marcus Smart and Jaylen Brown 24 each, and the Celtics went on to win the Miami Heat 127-102 in two games of the series in the first half.
“The boys are proud and saw a golden opportunity that we lost (in a game) and thought we could do better,” Vodoka said.
“And we did it tonight.”
After adding 12 assists and nine rebounds, Smart was shy of a rebound in a triple-double.
Grant Williams scored 19 points for Boston, which he used 17-0 late in the first quarter – driven by five three-pointers at six intervals – to take control. Payton Pritchard and Al Harford each had 10 for the Celtics.
“We were pretty confident,” Pritchard said.
Jimmy Butler had 29 points in 32 minutes for Miami, which went 7-1 at home in these play-offs. Gabe Vincent and Victor Oladipo each scored 14 points and Tyler Hero scored 11 points.
“It only counts as one,” said hit coach Eric Spoilstra.
“That’s what the experienced players and staff in the locker room understand. We don’t like it. They played very well. You two have a really good team and we need to figure something out. “
The Celtics have now taken 20 shots from the 4-0 – three-point range to 10 of Miami in these play-offs right after the loss.
Three matches on Sunday in Boston.
“It’s a loss, whether you kill Aaron by one or 20,” Vincent said.
“It’s being reorganized, go back to the drawing board and get ready for three games.”
And the gap could have been worse: Boston led with 34 points in the fourth, putting the game at the top of a really good Celtic history and a really bad hit history.
The Celtics have their biggest post-season winning record at 40, the Heat’s biggest post-season record at 36, and those numbers were within reach at the last minute before the meaningless Miami race.
Boston trailed 10 in the first quarter, then beat Miami 60-21 in the next 18 minutes – a 39-point turnaround that took a 70-45 halftime lead.
The 25-point halftime lead was the Celtics’ biggest in any road play-off game, topping the 22-point edge at break in 2009 in Chicago.
“They came out,” said Adebayo of the heating center Bam, “and hit us in the face.”
Brown had 11 points in the first quarter while the Celtics went nine for 11 from a three-point range. Tatum then had 17 points in the second and Boston kept moving away, a day when everything was going Celtic’s way. They learned the day before that two starters – Harford (virus-related problem) and Smart (mid-leg sprain) – had been cleared to play in the second game after missing the series opener.
“I need to take my rest, get my health back, see and see some things and come out and perform in this game,” says Smart.
And keep up the good news.
Butler did his best to try and make a comeback, scoring 16 points in the third quarter and hitting 17. But a 12-2 run by the Celtics recovered the 27-point edge late. The lead was 96-71 going to the fourth and the result was never far from being questioned the rest of the way.
Miami did not use its starter in the fourth quarter.
“It has to hit,” Butler said.
“They tried to embarrass us. They have embarrassed us. … Overall, we just have to be good. “
To get the best breaking news and daily dose of exclusive content from the Wide World of Sports, subscribe to our newsletter Click here!