Celtics vs Heat score, takeaway: Jayson Tatum, Boston in Game 2 to tie Eastern Conference Finals

Celtics vs Heat score, takeaway: Jayson Tatum, Boston in Game 2 to tie Eastern Conference Finals

The Boston Celtics rebounded in major fashion on Thursday night as they earned a dominating 127-102 win over the Miami Heat in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Finals. The Celtics have now stolen home-court advantage and tied the series, 1-1. Game 3 is scheduled for Saturday night in Boston.

At first it was all Heat, as they took a double-digit lead. It turned out to be the highlight of the night for them, however, as the Celtics turned the game around, went 17-0 and had a double-digit lead late in the first. trimester. They pulled away in the second quarter to take a 25-point lead into the break and the game was never in doubt again. Jayson Tatum led the way with 27 points, five rebounds and five assists, while Jaylen Brown went for 24 points and eight rebounds.

Marcus Smart, meanwhile, returned from a foot injury that kept him out of Game 1 to register 24 points, nine rebounds, 12 assists and three steals. The Celtics had another great shooting performance and went 20 of 40 from 3-point field.

Jimmy Butler led the Heat with 29 points and six rebounds, but he didn’t get much help. Gabe Vincent, who finished with 14 points, was the only other double-digit starter. The Heat also lost PJ Tucker to a knee contusion, and his status going forward is unclear.

Here are some key points of the game:

Smart shows back from a foot injury

The Celtics were without Marcus Smart (foot strain) and Al Horford (health and safety protocols) in Game 1, and they were sorely missed at both ends of the field. In particular, the Celtics could have used their leadership and composure when the Heat continued their huge third-quarter run on Tuesday night.

However, both players were back in action in Game 2 and were instrumental in the Celtics victory. Horford was a perfect 4 of 4 from the field and finished with 10 points, three rebounds and three assists. Smart, however, was the real difference maker. In one of his best playoff performances, he had 21 points, nine rebounds, 12 assists and three steals.

His defense, as always, was phenomenal, and his comeback made things a whole lot tougher for the Heat.

“As always, he sets the tone,” Celtics head coach Ime Udoka said. “Defensive Player of the Year for a reason. Ability to switch and switch over bigger bodies. Just another good defender to throw at (Jimmy) Butler and (Bam) Adebayo and some of those guys, and not have to worry about them, try to pick some matchups. He brings the physical every night. A little bit everyone is online.”

On the other side, his game was on point, as he made the right read time and time again and took a lot of the pressure off Jayson Tatum. Taking down a team-high five-point 3-pointer certainly didn’t hurt, and as an exclamation point, he knocked Max Strus down with a small dribbling maneuver.

Celtics first quarter proves crucial

In Tuesday night’s Game 1, the Celtics were in the lead coming out of halftime and looked like they had a chance to steal a win without some key players. Instead, the Heat went 22-2 over five minutes to overturn control of the game and pulled out for a double-digit win.

The reverse scenario played out on Thursday night – albeit much earlier in the game. Miami shot the ball extremely well in the opening minutes and took control with a double-digit lead. This advantage didn’t last long, the Celtics responded almost immediately with a 17-0 run to take control, built an 11-point lead late in the first, and never trailed again.

That 17-0 run was the Celtics’ longest of the entire postseason

C turn it on again from 3-point ground

The Celtics had tremendous 3-point performances during the playoffs. Most notably, they knocked down 22 3s in their Game 7 win over the Milwaukee Bucks in the second round. They were back on Thursday night, using another impressive shooting display to defeat the Heat in Game 2.

Smart of all players led the way with five marks, while Tatum and Brown each knocked down four. Overall, the Celtics went 20 of 40 from downtown for their most effective 3-point performance in the playoffs. It was also their third playoff game with at least 20 3-pointers, which is tied for the most in a single postseason by a team.

While shooting the ball well all night, the Celtics were particularly hot to start the game. They went 9 of 11 from behind the arc in the first quarter and hit five in a row in their game-changing 17-0 run. This kind of shooting performance is simply demoralizing for the opposing team, and the Heat have never recovered from it.

Heat facing more potential injury issues

There was a lot of focus on the Celtics’ injury issues in Game 1, with Smart and Horford unable to play. The Heat, however, have their own issues with the health department. Veteran point guard Kyle Lowry is struggling with a hamstring issue and hasn’t played since Game 4 against the Philadelphia 76ers in the second round.

Now the Heat may also have to keep tabs on PJ Tucker. He left Game 2 with a bruised knee and did not play in the second half. Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra said Tucker is adamant he’ll be ready for Game 3, but he’ll undergo further evaluation Friday, including an MRI. by Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports.

Tucker, 37, is one of the toughest players in the league, so you’d probably bet on him to play. Still, that’s a concern for the Heat because he’s one of their most important defenders.

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