Celtics Stay Alive with Game 4 Win in Miami

Tuesday night in the 2023 NBA Playoffs did not make history with the first dueling sweeps in Conference Finals history. The Boston Celtics stayed alive with a 116-99 win against the Miami Heat in Game 4. There will be a Game 5 on Thursday night in Boston.

Heat Looked Game Early

The Heat were favored in this game for the first time all series with a chance to end things at home. Such a great underdog this postseason, the Heat looked game early, taking a 9-point lead and a 29-23 lead after one quarter.

The second quarter was even at 27-27, but the Heat did struggle from 3, shooting 1-for-6. Bam Adebayo scored 10 points in the quarter, but he ran into foul trouble on the night and that limited his output.

Boston trailed 56-50 at halftime, but it had to feel decent with that outcome given some poor shooting from Marcus Smart and Jayson Tatum. They also held Jimmy Butler scoreless in the second quarter.

Boston Finds the 3-Point Shot Again

Jayson Tatum
Mandatory Credit: David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports/Sipa USA – Photo by Icon sport

Some NBA games do simply boil down to making or missing your shots and doing better (or worse) than you did in the previous game, especially in the playoffs against a team you are familiar with. The Celtics have been lousy from 3-point territory in this series, but they finally stepped up and made 18-of-45 3s in this game (40%) after failing to crack 12 made 3s in any of the first three games.

Meanwhile, Miami shot over 54% from 3 in Game 3, but it struggled here with 8-for-32 shooting (25%). Those secondary shooters like Gabe Vincent, Max Strus, Kyle Lowry, and Duncan Robinson were a combined 3-for-18 from 3. The Heat also had 15 turnovers with a sloppy second half in particular.

For all the criticism in this series, Grant Williams came up huge for Boston with 14 points on 4-of-6 from 3. He played the role of Malcolm Brogdon better than Brogdon did as he finished with 2 points after a bagel in Game 3. Smart hit a few 3s in the second half and finished with 11 points. Derrick White continued to be solid with 16 points, helping out Jaylen Brown who still struggled with 17 points on 16 shots.

Tatum finally had a big finish for the team after some rough fourth quarters earlier in Boston. Tatum scored 33 points and was a plus-21 on the night. He also had 11 rebounds and 7 assists, outplaying Butler (29 points, 9 rebounds, 5 assists).

The Celtics had a 20-5 run to start the third quarter and that propelled them to victory. Miami never got closer than 5 points in the fourth quarter, and Boston led by as many as 18 before the 116-99 final.

It is daunting to see that teams down 3-0 are 0-150 in the series in NBA history, but the Celtics have some life and are a big favorite at home in Game 5. But things are not going to get that interesting unless they can win the next game too.

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