Tatum’s 27 points help Celtics thrash Heat

Tatum’s 27 points help Celtics thrash Heat

Tatum’s 27 points help Celtics thrash Heat

The Boston Celtics rallied back to even the NBA Eastern Conference finals series with a 127-102 thumping of the Miami Heat in game two on Thursday. Jayson Tatum scored 27 points.

Boston was transformed after the return of Marcus Smart and Al Horford, who both missed Tuesday’s 118-107 game one thrashing. The best-of-seven series was now tied at 1-1.

In Tuesday’s blowout opener, Boston was only 11-of-34 from three-point range, as Miami outhustled them to a convincing victory.

The Celtics, on the other hand, shook off their poor shooting performance by nailing 20-of-40 from beyond the arc to defeat Miami.

Although Tatum was the leading scorer, the Celtics’ whole lineup made significant contributions.


Smart had 24 points, 12 assists, and nine rebounds, while Jaylen Brown had 24 points, including 12 from beyond the arc.

Grant Williams scored 19 points off the bench, while Al Horford and Payton Pritchard each scored 10.

Only three other Heat players scored in double figures, including Jimmy Butler, who led the team with 29 points.

The return of Smart and Horford, according to Celtics coach Ime Udoka, was crucial.

“It was great to have them back, they’re a calming presence,” Udoka said.

“I don’t think we played as poorly as the last game suggested. We won three-quarters


Smart admitted he had found it hard to sit out game one with a foot injury.

“I felt bad that I couldn’t be out there with my teammates going to battle with them,” Smart said.

“We’re playing a really good Miami team and it’s a blessing to be on the same court going to war. It was tough having to watch it.”

of that game but we saw a lot of positives and areas that we could attack.”


‘They embarrassed us’


Miami coach Erik Spoelstra said his team had expected a Boston backlash.

“I’m sure they weren’t happy about us putting up 118 against them in game one,” Spoelstra said.

“When you get to this stage of the conference finals, you just have very good teams, teams without many weaknesses.

“It’s great competition. But this only counts as one game. We don’t like it. We just have to figure some things out.”

Butler said he hoped the defeat would motivate Miami for game three.

“They tried to embarrass us, and they did embarrass us,” Butler said.


Miami picked up where they left off in game one in the first quarter, with Max Strus nailing back-to-back three-pointers to put the Heat up 18-8.

However, Boston went on a 17-0 run to flip the quarter around, with their long-range shooting substantially improved.

Brown made three three-pointers in the first quarter, giving the Celtics a 35-24 lead heading into the second.

The Celtics’ shooting masterclass continued in the second quarter, with Pritchard hitting a 26-foot three-pointer midway through the period to put Boston up 19 points, 47-28.

Soon after, a Tatum three-pointer and two free throws put Boston up 27 points, 64-37, and the Celtics had built a 29-point advantage when Grant Williams’ driving layup made it 68-39.

With a pullup jump shot at halftime, Smart sealed the deal on a devastating first-half performance.


Late in the third quarter, Miami rallied to cut Boston’s advantage to 17 points, but the Celtics regrouped and drew away once more.

In the last seconds of the third quarter, Tatum hit a three-pointer to put them up 25 points, 94-69, a margin they would keep going into the fourth.

Smart extended Boston’s lead to 30 points in the fourth quarter, bamboozling the Miami defenders with a spectacular stepback three-pointer from 26 feet as the Celtics wrapped up a devastating victory.

On Saturday, Game 3 of the series will be played in Boston, and Smart expects a strong Miami reaction.

“The number one and number two teams going at it, it’s a grind,” Smart said.

“We know they’re coming to our house trying to get a win. We’ve got to protect our home court.”



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