The Celtics are in trouble in this ECF. Boston lost to the Miami Heat 101-106 forcing them down two games in this postseason series.
The game started off with a motivated Kemba Walker. The veteran was scoring all over the court. Shots from the perimeter and inside the paint made him a major weapon as the Celtics took an early lead. Walker ended with 14 points in the first half.
As a whole, the Celtics were dominant inside and outside the paint. Some good minutes from Enes Kanter took place making Brad Stephens look like a genius. Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown were able to get their shot going in the first half. But then things went south.
The 3rd quarter is where things took a turn for the worst. Although Butler ended the first half with just 4 points, he ended strong. The Heat eventually fought back after facing a 13 point deficit at halftime. In the third quarter Duncan Robinson and Bam Adeboyou took over with their scoring and defensive plays.
Adebayo was just simply unstoppable in the third quarter. This Erik Spoelstra led crew made a humungous 20 point turnaround in the third quarter. A big 4 point play by Jae Crowder and foul trouble on the Celtics part played a role. Ultimately, everything played into the Heat’s hands as the game progressed.
Kemba finished with 23 points after starting off hot. He was able to score at times but noticeably slowed down due to Miami’s zones and traps. Butler and Crowder played the passing lanes and forced turnovers which led to scores. The Celtics appeared tired and out of options.
However, the Celtics did fight back in the 4th quarter and even briefly took the lead. But the high volume of minutes took a toll on the stars. There were no answers for Adebayo on the pick and roll and Butler went to the bucket at will. Goran Dragic also played big with 25 points.
The absence of Gordon Hayward showed for the first time in this postseason for Boston. The stars appeared fatigued as they continue to play high minutes. Coach Brad Stephen's changes looked effective at the beginning of the game but evaporated overtime. This scrappy Heat team put together a string of runs to get the win.
The Boston Celtics are now down two games and appear to not have enough. Hopefully, the return of Hayward can come quickly as they desperately need him. Game 3 will be played Saturday night as it’ll be a crucial game. Now we will see what the Celtics are made of despite the offensive skills they possess.
Defensively, the Celtics have no answer for Jimmy Butler as he can get to the basket when he wants. Adebayo also is a notable mismatch physically and skillfully to the Celtics frontcourt. Duncan Robinson and Tyler Herro are also just nightmares on the perimeter. Only game 3 will show if the Celtics can bounce back in this ECF.
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