The Boston Celtics out-matched the Miami Heat on Monday night, winning Game 4, 102-82, to tie up the Eastern Conference Finals at 2-2.
The Heat’s shooting started ice-cold in the first quarter: going 0-14 in the opening seven minutes and ending with 4-of-19 shooting from the field that period.
Miami lost out on a number of rebounds in their atrocious opening quarter, giving Boston extra possessions on offense which they capitalized on.
Erik Spoelstra’s Heat didn’t have the size or scoring to put themselves one step closer to the Finals. Without reigning Sixth Man of the Year Tyler Herro, sidelined due to a groin injury, the Heat played from behind and stayed there.
Miami’s Jimmy Butler appeared to feel the atrophy of carrying the Heat all playoffs, scoring only six points all game.
Heat center Bam Adebayo also came up short, only attempting two shots in the first half and five total for nine points.
Boston’s Jayson Tatum had an All-Star performance, recording 31 points on 8-of-16 shooting and eight rebounds.
Al Horford’s impact on the Celtics in Game 2 and Monday’s Game 4 showed off the team’s series advantage under the rim. Horford secured 13 rebounds on the night. Celtics center Robert Williams complemented Horford’s size with solid defense and energy in 19 minutes of action. He scored 12 points and nabbed nine rebounds.
Miami fell back on trying to overcome a double-digit lead with three-point shooting throughout the second half. Their 38 percent field goal percentage in this game highlighted the poor strategy.
Butler walked straight to the locker room as the clock hits zeroes.
The Celtics played hungrier all game.
“We knew this was a game we really needed,” Tatum said after the game. “Everybody was ready to get back out here and play better.”
Boston visits FTX Arena on Wednesday for Game 5.
Follow along on Twitter: @AlejandroAveela