Thank you JESUS. Alright, everyone exhale. The one thing we had going into this game was the confidence that the Boston Celtics would not lose two games in a row. They've punched back every single time this entire postseason coming off a loss, we needed them to do it one more time. I dunno about you, but I'd say they answered the challenge. A game that was never in doubt, we needed a win like this coming off of what happened over the weekend. We needed to see this team be locked in from the opening tip and play with the urgency required when your season is on the line. With no Smart in the lineup it would require everyone to level up, especially Derrick White and Payton Pritchard.
That's exactly what happened.
More importantly, Jayson Tatum showed up. History told us that coming off a dogshit performance, Tatum goes back to being elite the very next night. After unacceptable Game 3, Tatum responded with 31/8/5 while shooting 50% from the floor. He was the franchise guy they needed him to be.
Defensively, this was unlike anything I could have expected. I did not see the Celts holding MI to 0-14 from the floor to start this game. Before I could even take my first breath they were up 18-1 or some shit. In a series that has been defined by one team having a completely horrific quarter, boy am I glad the Heat stepped up this time. This was a game the Celts scored 102 points and shot 39/23% and they were up by as much as 31 before the bench guys came in. Al Horford made 1 FGM and he was the best big on the floor not named Robert Williams. None of that shit makes any sense and yet, here we are, tied 2-2 heading back to MIA for the ever important Game 5 swing game.
It's also no surprise that when the Celts don't play like assholes, they can be pretty good. How interesting that in a game they only turned the ball over 11 times and allowed just 9 points off turnovers that they would cruise to an easy win. Almost as if all they have to do is not turn the ball over and the Heat have a world of issues trying to score in the halfcourt. Listen, you aren't going to get many 0-14 games, the same way the Celts aren't going to turn the ball over 24 times for 33 points. Those are prayers. But right now I don't give two shits. I'll take whatever prayers want to come my way right now. I think we can all admit that something like this
isn't going to happen all that often. At the same time, the Celts were much more locked in defensively. Their energy was fantastic. I thought they did a much better job of handling Bam in the P&R, and you can attribute a large portion of that to Rob. I am praying whatever was going on with that limp is nothing serious because he is the very definition of a game changing player in this series. When he plays, you don't even notice Bam. When he doesn't, you get a Game 3. The threat Rob poses on both ends of the floor completely changes the dynamic of how the Celts play. The Heat are over aggressive, so the second you put the ball on the floor it opens up the lob to Rob which last time I checked is the most unstoppable play in basketball. Defensively, he can guard 1-5 and blocks everything in his sight. It's now on all of us to put that energy into the universe that he'll be ready to play for Game 5.
It was just great to see the Celts show that resiliency and punch back in a game of this magnitude. Their energy and effort were perfect right from the opening tip, and hopefully, this is enough of an eye opener for them to realize this is how you always have to play. Game 5 on the road is going to be tough as hell, but they've proven they can win in that building. We now just have the same question as we did after Game 2. We know how this team will respond after a loss. But can they build off a win? Can they actually ride momentum forward and not take an immediate step backward? Didn't happen on Saturday and I desperately need it to happen on Wednesday. Take Game 5, you set yourself up nicely to end this thing at home. Don't even leave it up to some potential Game 7 heartbreak. Please.
Just like they did this weekend, I expect the Heat to punch back. Having Herro back will make a difference, even if his shot is struggling. I also saw Derrick White grab his hammy, so that now has be terrified as well.
But on a night where the Celts season was basically on the line, they came through. They punched back. They stayed alive. Now it's all comes down to who can win 2 of the next 3. Buckle up.
See everyone in the morning. Cheers.