Minutes after the Boston Celtics avoided a postseason sweep at the hands of the Miami Heat, they were already planning a return trip to South Florida.
Latest news on Jayson Tatum and Jimmy Butler
Talk is cheap, but if the Celtics win Game 5 against the Heat on Thursday in Boston, the subject will become very real indeed.
After the Celtics escaped the brooms with a 116–99 triumph in Game 4 on Tuesday, Jaylen Brown proclaimed, “We want to come back to Miami.”
The underdog Heat now hold a 3-1 lead in the best-of-seven series.
Jayson Tatum scored 25 of his 33 points in the second half, including 14 in the third quarter, as Boston defeated Miami 38-23. After the intermission, Tatum made 11 of 15 shots from the field.
There were others besides Tatum. The Celtics had a 51.2% field goal percentage (43-of-84) and a 40% three-point percentage (18-of-45) in the game.
And as trite as it may seem, we just tried to take it one game at a time,” Tatum said of the team’s approach.
To paraphrase, “We didn’t play well in the first three games and didn’t deserve to win, but we didn’t want that to define us or the season.”
Although (Tuesday) was just the beginning, “we still have a long uphill battle ahead of us.” Keep this momentum rolling till Thursday,” he said.
But TD Garden’s home teams have struggled in the playoffs. Five of the Celtics’ last seven games at TD Garden have ended in defeat.
The Heat had won all six home playoff games previous to Tuesday’s setback in Miami.
Gallinari (knee) will not be able to play in Thursday’s fifth game.
Because of his lack of action so far this year, Gallinari’s absence on Thursday is comprehensible. It does not look like the experienced forward will be returning to the lineup any time soon.
The Heat missed out on making the NBA Finals for the second time in four years. They also missed out on the potential to become the second eighth-seeded team in NBA Finals history, following the 1998–99 New York Knicks.
Jimmy Butler scored 29 points and grabbed nine boards on Tuesday.
In Game 4, Boston’s defense stepped up and made it difficult for Butler to score, as the All-Star had to work hard for each of his points. Butler made contact, and the free throw was good for 10 points.
Without that high score, Butler, Miami’s primary offensive catalyst, saw a significant scoring drop in Game 4.
Butler seemed unfazed by the team’s early failure to capitalize on favorable situations.
“The only thing I’m going to say is that we’ll be OK,” Butler said. Let’s go back to following the same procedures we’ve always used. Never lose hope in one another; you are the reason we will succeed. We simply need to put forth more effort.
There’s hardly much point in talking to this group because we all know the answers. Now all that’s left to do is carry out the plan.”
For this contest, the Heat will be without Tyler Herro, Victor Oladipo, and Gabe Vincent due to injuries.