Game 4 takeaways: C's keep season alive with 116-99 win vs. Heat originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston
Marcus Smart and Jaylen Brown channeled their inner Kevin Millar with their "Don't let us win one" message ahead of Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Finals.
Like Millar and the 2004 Boston Red Sox, the Celtics bounced back from a blowout Game 3 loss to avoid a sweep.
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After a back-and-forth first half, the C's erupted for 38 points in the third quarter and outscored Miami 66-43 in the final two frames to earn a 116-99 victory. Boston shot 51.2 percent from the floor, including a series-best 40 percent (18-45) from 3-point range.
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Jayson Tatum bounced back from a lackluster Game 3 with a game-high 34 points. Derrick White and Grant Williams stepped up to help stave off elimination with 16 and 14 points, respectively.
Jimmy Butler (29 points) and Gabe Vincent (17 points) were the leading scorers for Miami. Caleb Martin continued his strong series with 16 points off the bench.
The C's will look to carry the momentum from their victory into Thursday's Game 5 in Boston. First, here are a few quick takeaways from Tuesday's victory.
Superstar Jayson Tatum shows up
It was another slow start for Tatum, who coughed up three turnovers in the first seven minutes of the game. But once he settled in, he propelled the Celtics to victory with a stellar performance.
The Heat simply had no answer for Tatum on Tuesday night. The 25-year-old converted 14 of his 22 shot attempts to finish with 34 points. He hit five of his nine 3-pointers and passed Paul Pierce as the Celtics' all-time leader in playoff 3s in the process.
Twenty-five of Tatum's 34 points came in the second half.
Tatum didn't make a fourth-quarter bucket in the first three games of the series, but he finally ended that cold streak in Game 4. After a sluggish start to the frame, the C's went on a 12-0 run after Tatum entered the game in the fourth to cap off the win.
The four-time All-Star did a little bit of everything, complementing his scoring with 11 rebounds, seven assists, two blocks and a steal.
C's look like themselves in second half
Where have these Celtics been all series?
That's what C's fans wondered as they watched them hit shot after shot in the second half. An outstanding 3-point shooting team during the regular season, they finally found their groove and buried seven of their 12 3s in the third quarter.
Boston took command of the game with an 18-0 run in the third. The Heat had a nine-point lead with 10:39 left in the frame, but they were outscored 36-18 the rest of the way.
It was a similar story in the fourth quarter. The C's flexed their offensive muscle while limiting the Heat to 35 percent shooting in the second half.
The Heat seemingly couldn't miss through the first three games of the series while the Celtics' usual sharpshooters couldn't buy a bucket. That changed on Tuesday night and it was the difference in Boston's victory.
It started with veteran big man Al Horford, who was 3-for-13 from beyond the arc in the series heading into Game 4. He snapped out of his shooting slump with three 3s in the first half. It was his first game with three 3-pointers since Game 3 vs. Philadelphia.
Horford was one of five C's players with at least three 3s in the win. Tatum (5-9), Smart (3-9), White (3-7), and Grant Williams (4-6) each made their presence felt from long range.
The Celtics shot 19-of-45 (42.2 percent) from 3 while the Heat shot 8-for-32 (25 percent). That was the difference between extending the series and going home for the summer.
Need more from Malcolm Brogdon
Brogdon is the one Celtic who couldn't get it going on Tuesday. The Sixth Man of the Year's woes continued as he finished 1-for-5 from the floor for only two points.
The dismal performance followed a scoreless 0-for-6 shooting night in Game 3. Needless to say, the Celtics will need much more out of their prized offseason acquisition if they are to make this series interesting. If Brogdon scuffles out of the gate again on Thursday, don't be surprised if Joe Mazzulla gives Payton Pritchard and/or Sam Hauser some of his minutes.
While Brogdon struggled, Grant Williams stepped up to provide scoring off the bench. The spark plug contributed 14 points off four 3-pointers in 29 minutes.