The Boston Celtics entered Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Finals down 3-0. After such a promising regular season, it was yet another embarrassing chapter for the Celtics in the playoffs. At every turn, they had somehow managed to mess up. They needed six to beat the Hawks and seven (plus a comeback) to eliminate the Sixers. While there have been dominant individual performances, there has oftentimes been a distinct lack of team dominance. It was bad enough for Malcolm Brogdon to call out the lack of "team identity."
And then along came the giant-killing Heat. They had already beaten the Bucks so hard that they fired their coach before seeing off a resurgent Knicks team. The Heat made short work of the Celtics in the first three games of the series, with everyone from the coach to the players in Boston almost admitting defeat. Heading into Game 4, the Celtics would need a miracle to overcome the "Playoff Jimmy"-led Heat.
Celtics Find A Win, Stay Alive
The two sides kept it close in the first quarter, with Miami leading 29-23. They maintained that six-point lead heading into the half as they began to eye that sweep. Then the Celtics finally remember that this was an elimination game and went on a 12-0 run early in the third to take an eight-point lead. Hitting a double-digit lead at several points during the period, the Celtics entered the fourth up nine. Another big scoring run sealed the game for Boston, sending the series back to TD Garden with the 116-99 victory.
Every Boston starter reached double-digit points, with Jayson Tatum leading all scorers with 33. Tatum was also crucial in the backcourt, pulling down 10 defensive rebounds. Additionally, Grant Williams had 14 points off the bench as the Celtics finally showed what their offense was capable of. Meanwhile, Jimmy Butler had another great game, putting up 29 points. However, his supporting cast struggled. While Gabe Vincent had 17 and Caleb Martin dropped 16, the Heat's bench excluding Martin scored just 12 points. However, the performance will not be too much of a worry for Miami. Given their monumental lead, they can afford to drop one game. The series returns to Boston for Game 5 on Thursday.