It took leaving Boston almost to the bottom of the abyss for them to finally wake up from their slumber and face the Heat as the powerful No. 2 seed in the Eastern Conference. This Tuesday evening the Celtics took Game 4 by storm, won the match 116 to 99, and reduced the series deficit to 3-1.
Even though history is not on their side, as no team has ever come back from losing 3-0, the franchise from Massachusetts is firm in their belief of reversing the series.
“We understand that the odds are stacked against us,” Marcus Smart said knowing that 150 teams have been in their same instance and never won the series. “But we’re a team that believes no matter what, and we just got to keep going. All that matters is the next game.”
His teammate Jaylen Brown was a bit more playful with his mentality over the challenge ahead. “We want to come back to Miami. If that happens, I feel like we’ll feel good about ourselves,” he said. “The next one should be fun.”
One of the most impactful estrategies during last night’s Eastern Conference clash, was how Boston forced Miami into 16 turnovers, immediately turning them into 27 points.
The Celtics took advantage of this time and time again as they got out in transition, placing themselves in front of clean-shot opportunities while rival defenders hurried back.
“They’re a really good defensive team,” Tatum said about their opponents. “So, the more opportunities you can get to push the ball in transition, when their defense is not set, when they score, it’s easy to set your defense, but you’re getting stops, you’re getting turnovers, and you’re running, maybe it’s a cross match, you find a mismatch or something.
“That’s how we want to play with pace. So, getting stops and forcing turnovers and things like that is obviously helping for us.”
Shooting efficiency from beyond the arc proved to be essential in Boston’s Game 4 triumph
The Celtics finally made the shots in Game 4 that they had been missing during their first three matches of the Eastern Conference Finals against the Heat, ending the last contest with 18 made three-pointers on 40% efficiency.
“Well, last game, they had 42 threes. They had 45 tonight. So they are not going to shoot that poorly that many times in a row, particularly if they are getting some open ones,” Heat coach Eric Spoelstra shared his take on his rival’s display. “They got a lot of clean [shots] tonight.”
Marcus Smart also made his contribution from long-range:
Smart for THREE 💦
Boston on a 16-0 run in Q3 on TNT! pic.twitter.com/zHG1LJsQoZ
— NBA (@NBA) May 24, 2023
However, coach Joe Mazzulla not only enjoyed his pupil’s shot efficiency, he also praised how they held tight in defense when those shots weren’t going inside the rim.
“We had an empty-possession stretch in both halves where we continued to defend at a high level,” the trainer said, making a great example of how he wants his team to pressure the Heat.