In the last minute of the Miami Heat Three game, Jason Tatum lay on the court with a sore neck.
The Celtics have played their part in ensuring that the All-Star game is hurting after four.
Tatum scored 31 points and Boston pushed Miami early in their turn, jumping to a 26-4 lead and winning 102-82 which equaled the two games in the Eastern Conference Final.
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“Of course, we knew how important this game was,” Tatum said. “Everyone had to come up with a different sense of urgency.”
Miami missed 15 of its first 16 shots as this bizarre series created another game that ended 12 minutes later. The Hit is 39-18 ahead after the first quarter of three games.
The stats draw a story so bad for the hits, breaking several horrific records.
Miami didn’t score a single field goal until 3:22 in the first quarter, the longest drought without a field goal in 25 years to start a playoff game.
But it wasn’t the worst.
The Miami starters rallied for 18 points, the lowest of any starting five points when that particular status was first tracked in 1917.
Boston has improved to 5-0 this post season after the loss. Coach Ime Udoka said the challenge is to find more continuity.
“When we win and lose, we have to build up the same energy,” said Vodoka. “It’s a three-match series now. The mood doesn’t always change when we lose and get a little desperate.”
Match Five on Thursday in Miami.
Payton Pritchard had 14 points for the Celtics. Derrick White added 13 points, eight rebounds and six assists, and Robert Williams finished with 12 points and nine rebounds.
“We just wanted to increase the effort around,” Williams said.
The Celtics led by 27 points in the second quarter and extended their advantage to 32 in the third. Each game in this series has a lead of at least 20 points and none has been extended.
Victor Oladipo led the hit with 23 points. At the start of Miami, All-Star Jimmy Butler (six points), Kyle Lori (three points), PJ Tucker (no points), Max Strauss (no points) and Bam Adebayo (nine points) were seven of 36 shootings. They all sat in the fourth quarter.
“They came out and jumped on us,” said hit coach Eric Spoilstra. “We’re not making any excuses. They definitely lost to us tonight. We’ve never been able to get any kind of possession in the game.”
And the Celtics blocked the hit without Marcus Smart, the defensive player of the year, who sprained his right ankle in the second half of the game.
The hit was without Tyler Hero, who suffered a groin injury towards the end of three games.
Butler, who missed the second half of the third game due to a swollen right knee, was on the starting lineup. Lori (strained left hamstring), Strauss (stranded hamstring) and Tucker (left knee irritation) all tested their injury pregam before leaving.
“It’s part of the playoffs. You learn to adapt,” Adebayo said. “The boys are out, the boys are playing halfway, the boys will play 20 minutes in the game, it depends. You have to find a way to win.”
Williams of Boston returned after missing a game with surgery on his left knee.
Even with their band-up roster, the Celtics have enjoyed the fastest start of their series. Starting in Smart’s place, White scored the first seven points of the game as Boston led 8-0.
It quickly rose to 18-1, with Miami making mistakes in its first 14 shots. 7:56 The hit didn’t get their first point until Adebayo’s free throw at Mark. Miami scored its first field goal at 3:22, Oladipo’s three-pointer, and finished three quarters with 20 runs.
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