Tatum resurrects the Celtics

Miami's second playoff loss, which threatened with a new comeback but succumbed to a great Tatum. Smart, Brown and Kemba, keys. Hayward came back.


It seems that Brad Stevens talk has had an effect. We are talking about the one that gave his four figures, the entirety of his starting team in these playoffs since Gordon Hayward was injured and without Daniel Theis, whose functions are different and does not fall within the spiritual and moral staff of the team. The conversation took place after the familiar row that took place in the Celtics' locker room at the conclusion of the second game, the one in which they had to separate Smart and Brown so that they did not come to blows. With the two of them, Kemba and Tatum, the Boston coach spoke at one in the morning and it seems that the reaction has come when it was most needed. A 3-0 has never been traced in the history of the playoffs and from that situation the Celtics who endorsed Miami, which is only their second defeat in these playoffs, wanted to get rid of that situation and will now have until Wednesday night to rest, clarify ideas and gather enough strength to tie a series whose first two games were in favor of their rivals despite having double-digit advantages. On both nights it happened and on both nights they succumbed to Spoelstra's tactical power, their own stage fright and the pride of their rivals, always under the watchful and scrutinizing gaze of a Pat Riley who observes everything behind the scenes, albeit in person and from Disney. In the position assigned to him to watch the games and with the mask, that dimensionless being with an unusual mind saw his team perish, despite making his umpteenth threat of comeback and putting fear in the body of the injured green pride

The Celtics began by sending in a first period in which they went with a nine-point advantage (22-31), tirelessly attacking the Heat paint and scoring 18 points in the zone for only 4 of their rival, who also lost 5 balls only in the first room (for only one of the greens). In that same Hayward appeared, a sponsored return between Stevens and his four lieutenants in that famous talk and with a relative minute restriction (he played 30). With 6 + 5 + 4 + 3 + 1 the forward finished, somewhat rusty but knowing how to break the area instantly, that chimera that caused so much damage to the Boston offense in the previous duel. Hayward, who played his first game as a substitute of the entire season, has already dropped that he will not be absent from the bubble for the birth of his son, a slab that could leave him without playing and for which he has reconsidered in the month who has been on leave. With his presence and the good work of the starters, the Celtics went to rest 13 up (50-63), defending Dragic and Butler well and preventing Duncan Robinson (whose defensive weakness they have known how to take advantage of) from making triples to them. mansalva as in the second meeting. In the last match he scored 6; in this, he has stayed at four, but he only had one at halftime, and the person in charge of supporting Florida was a Herro who exploded with 16 goals in the second period. Meanwhile, Jaylen Brown went into halftime with 17 points and Tatum did everything: 13 + 8 + 7. And the Heat were already going to 8 losses.

Of course, the greens entered the third quarter as if it were on their way to hell, remembering 37-17 that they received in the second partial game. This time, things were different, with the greens centered as they received the attacks of a rival who wanted but could not. The advantage had grown for the visiting theoreticians (theoretical because there is no field advantage) with 12 minutes ahead (74-89) and with a Tatum that was the differential factor for theirs, with 25 points, 14 rebounds and 8 assists ( only one in the entire second half), transmitting calm and managing to be the solution to a Celtic offensive that, on this occasion, did manage to attack the area and stop the opponent in attack. At least until the end, when Miami woke up and again put fear in the body of a team that had reached the top 20 minutes before. In 65 years of history, the Celtics have gone 12 or more points ahead in the fourth quarter 157 times, 158 from tonight. And they have won them all ... except the first game against Miami. Again, ghosts, especially when Duncan Robinson hit three triples in just over three minutes and Adebayo, huge today (27 + 16), torpedoed the area taking advantage of the small quintet of Stevens, his favorite (Kemba-Smart-Tatum-Brown -Hayward), which worked throughout the game and had slight doubts at the end.

Stevens' magic quartet

This time, the Celtics did not let go. A flagrant foul on Brown in attack gave the Heat two shots and possession, who were within five (104-109) with one minute to go, thanks to a free throw from Robinson (the other missed) and a quick basket from the omnipresent Adebayo. Boston resolved from the personnel line and did not get to see his rival within one possession, with Smart taking six free throws without failure in the final minutes and reaching 20 points. A barrier that, in addition to him and Tatum, surpassed Jaylen Brown (26 + 7 + 5 + 3, his huge game) and Kemba Walker (21 points with 50% in field goals and 3s), who forgot his bad shooting series from recent matches. The Stevens Magic Quartet. In addition, Grant Williams ran as a valid defender against Adebayo at certain times, although the key was in the collective defense of the Celtics, which caused 13 losses (they had one more, watch out for that) and left his rival in 12 of 44 in triples (27.3%). And 2 of 10 from the field goal (and on triples) for Crowder, 2 of 10 also for Dragic (1 of 5 on triples), and 4 of 12 from outside for a Herro who appeared in the second quarter, but scored alone. 6 more points combined in the other three for 22 totals. Butler, by the way, 17 + 8 + 3, with 2 blocks, appearing at the end but late and without being that key man who stole very important balls in the previous duel.

The Celtics are still alive. At 22 years old, Tatum has added his fourth game with at least 25 + 10 + 5, the most before turning 23 with LeBron James since 1965. And the choral game, with the four players from Stevens' now famous talk , exceeding the twenty (92 points combined among the four, with 52.4% in field goals, 7 out of 19 in triples and 19 out of 22 in free throws), gives an extra life to a team that must return to suffer, apparently more, to equalize the tie on Wednesday and not go with a 3-1 down that has only been traced 13 times in history. The last two, you know, by the Nuggets. But of course, they are not going to hold on to that in Boston either. The common denominator of the three games is that he has had Celtics advantages large enough to carry the game controlled to the end; in two, they have not succeeded, but in the latter they have. A priori, they seem to have more arguments than their rivals to win a series in which they are behind, but with a brilliant mind like Spoelstra's and his difficulties in closing the games, anything can happen. The situation is better than yesterday, but equalizing the tie and starting a new series within the five-game series can help them arriving in an upward dynamic. For now, 2-1 and the Celtics are still alive. Less than his rivals but alive, after all. And, you know, while there is life there is hope.

Photos from as.com
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