No franchise in NBA history has managed to come back from 3-0 down in the playoffs, but the Boston Celtics want to make a splash. In a vital game where they could be eliminated, the Celtics achieved an extra life on Tuesday (99-116) thanks to a brilliant performance by Jayson Tatum and a hail of 18 three-pointers that snatched the Miami Heat from reaching the Finals.
Although those in green have the series 1-3 against, this Thursday they will have a new opportunity to close the gap at the TD Garden. They need to add another three straight wins to accomplish an unprecedented feat in the NBA. Curiously, a fact that was recorded in Major League Baseball (MLB) with the Boston Red Sox as protagonists. In 2004, they came back from 0-3 in the series against the New York Yankees and ended up being crowned champions.
In the NBA, the star of the night was Jayson Tatum who, with 33 points, 11 rebounds and seven assists, led the Celtics to victory, where Jaylen Brown (17 points), Derrick White (16) and Al Horford (12) also stood out. The Boston team was forceful in all facets of the game against the Heat who choked on the three-pointer (8 of 32) and Jimmy Butler's 29 points, nine rebounds and five assists were not enough.
After the humiliation suffered in the third game, those in green came out with a different attitude, more aggressive, faster in transitions and more effective from the three-point line. The locals, in their fight to get the ticket to the NBA Finals, shot over 50% from the field, and signed a good performance in the first half thanks to 14 points from Caleb Martin (perfect six of six in the first half) and Gabe Vincent's 11, who also provided a wonderful behind-the-back assist for a Bam Adebayo dunk.
The ten points from the center, who also did damage from midrange, allowed the Heat to close the second quarter with a 13-6 run to maintain a six-point lead at halftime (56-50).
However, the Celtics reacted in time and sealed a devastating 18-0 run, boosted by three consecutive three-pointers, two from Tatum and one from White, to take the lead on the scoreboard (70-61). Butler closed the gap for the Miami team, but the Boston team did not give up and closed the third quarter with a 7-0 lead to take a nine-point lead (88-79).
In a new attempt to get closer to the rival, Kyle Lowry brought Miami to five points (88-83) in the fourth period, but it was little more than an anecdote. A 19-6 run by the Celtics, boosted by a 9-0 run by Tatum, pushed Joe Mazzulla's team up to 107-89, virtually ending the Heat's options.
With Butler already on the bench, Tatum capped off his big game with 25 second-half points to take the series back to the TD Garden. The Celtics will have to play all their cards this Thursday in Game 5 at home, where they will try to stay alive in the series. Miami Heat, for their part, will seek to definitively seal the tie to enter the fight for the ring where the Denver Nuggets already expect a rival.