The Boston Celtics met the Miami Heat in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Finals. It was a grind-it-out game that featured a lot of back-and-forth. Jayson Tatum put in probably the worst half of his career – he had 0 points until the 6:45 mark of the third (3rd!!) quarter. The Celtics were not able to overcome that despite Kemba Walker’s offensive output and a Tatum resurgence in the second half. Miami was led by Tyler Herro dropping a career-high 37 points. Yeah, I know.
The obvious story here is Jayson Tatum’s struggle tonight and the second scoreless half of his career, but that script was flipped in the second half. Walker (20 points) had a great first half, and the Celtics were getting great looks all night against Miami’s zone because of Walker’s willingness to probe and be aggressive – something that was missing in the first two games of this series. Marcus Smart didn’t shoot well tonight by any means, but he led all players on both teams in assists (by far) with 11 dimes.
Tyler Herro was a huge spark plug off the bench for the Heat (understatement). He was a big part of the second-quarter push that gave Boston just its second halftime deficit of the postseason. He also was part of the huge push in the fourth quarter to put the Celtics to bed. Boston had no answer.
The Miami Heat didn’t shoot lights out, but they took advantage of a cold stretch for the Celtics toward the latter half of the second quarter. Miami came out more aggressive in the third quarter, pushing their lead up to 12 (the most they’ve led by this entire series). Jayson Tatum finally got his first shot to go, and that’s when things started to open up. Tatum followed that up with another 3-pointer, Brown got a good baseline look, Hayward got going with a couple of shots, and the team finally was able to get going offensively.
Tatum finished with 16 points in the third quarter. The Celtics won the third quarter 32-17. That’s how you respond after a terrible start.
The fourth quarter didn’t go as well . . . I wish I could tell you what happened, but I wasn’t breathing for most of it. Miami appeared to grab the momentum again after a flurry from Herro, but Boston finally was able to take its first lead of the second half at 85-84 with a Theis dunk. And then Herro happened...again. Consistently.
Boston couldn’t stop turning the ball over, and that crippled their chances down the stretch.
Tyler Herro was just unreal. I don’t have any other words, honestly.
Jaylen Brown finished with 21 points, and Tatum led the Celtics with 28 points after a scoreless first half. The Miami Heat deserved to win, and the Celtics didn’t even let us mourn properly by trying to get us believe they’d come back in the last minute.
The key to this devastating and back-breaking loss? Boston’s 19 turnovers compared to Miami’s 8.
Boston started shot making too late, and the Heat made their freethrows. Celtics trail the Heat 1-3 in the Eastern Conference Finals, and now they’ll fight for their lives in Game 5 on Friday at 8:30 PM EST on ESPN.