The Eastern Conference Finals series between the Miami Heat and the Boston Celtics has been back-and-forth up until this point. Now, the series is knotted up two games a-piece after a 102-82 Game 4 Boston victory.
Boston’s defensive showcase
The Boston Celtics defense was the story in Game 4. Boston held the Heat to 11 points in the first quarter, the lowest point total in the first quarter in their team’s playoff history. Miami Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra discussed how their poor start hurt them.
The Celtics held the Heat to 33.3% from the field. Jimmy Butler was held in check to only 6 points on 3-14 shooting from the field. Al Horford blocked four shots. Robert Williams III, who came off of injury, blocked two shots in 18 minutes.
HORFORD SENDS IT TO CAMBRIDGE pic.twitter.com/pnSnX257f4
— Boston Celtics (@celtics) May 24, 2022
Celtics star Jason Tatum lead the Celtics offense, scoring 31 points. He made 14 free throws on 16 attempts. Attacking the basket seemed to be a focal point for Tatum after he only shot four free-throws in Game 3.
Boston head coach Ime Udoka liked how his team set the tone defensively in Game 4.
The Heat won Game 1, 118-107 behind 41 points from Jimmy Butler. The Celtics came back strong in Game 2 to split the series, winning 127-102. Game 3 was the closest game of the series so far. Miami won 109-103 in Boston. Bam Adebayo had a strong performance with 31 points.
Injuries have played a large role in the series as well. Sixth Man of the Year award winner Tyler Herro was out with a groin injury for Game 4. After suffering an ankle injury in Game 3, Marcus Smart was also not available for Game 4. Kyle Lowry, Al Horford, Derrick White and Robert Williams III have also missed time in the series. Availability will be key in seeing who advances to the NBA Finals.
Importance of Game 5
In a best-of-7 playoff series, when a series is tied 2-2, the team that wins Game 5 has gone on to win the series 82.2 percent of the time. The Heat are looking to bounce back on offense, while the Celtics are looking to bring the same defensive focus to Game 5.
The Eastern Conference Finals rubber match begins at 8:30p.m. EST Wednesday in Miami.