The Boston Celtics proved they got what it takes when they’ve got a healthy team on the floor: beating the Miami Heat, 127-102, to tie up the Eastern Conference Finals (1-1).
Celtics big man Al Horford and guard Marcus Smart returned to action after entering health protocols and rehabbing a foot injury, respectively.
Marcus Smart didn’t miss a step since he last helped overwhelm the Phoenix Suns on Sunday. He led an impressive scoring night (24 points) and kicked up the energy for Boston after mixing up Max Strus to close out the third quarter.
FTX Arena felt the sobering moment after already watching Tyler Herro, Bam Adebayo and Victor Oladipo struggle all game to help Jimmy Butler (29 points) on the scoring front.
Boston led comfortably courtesy of their Big 3: Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown and the aforementioned Smart.
The trio combined for 75 points — amassing a strong lead ahead of Erik Spoelstra’s Heat, starting with Boston’s mighty first half.
Miami matched Boston’s second-half scoring (57 points), but the paltry first half by the Heat — down 70-45 at the break — gave the team a newfound urgency to start games fast in order to survive the series.
Former Tennessee Vol Grant Williams chipped in 19 points, four rebounds and a plus-37 off the Celtics bench. Al Horford finished with 11 points and went plus-16.
The Western Conference Finals resume at TD Garden on Saturday.
Follow along on Twitter: @AlejandroAveela