After an 11-point loss to the Miami Heat in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals series, the Boston Celtics bounced back strongly in Game 2 on Thursday.
The Celtics won Game 2 of the series 127-102 to beat the Heat by 25 points and truly dominated the game from the start.
Miami did get off to a hot start, going 18-10 in the first 5-6 minutes of the game, but then Boston really struggled, especially on 3-pointers.
In this game, the Celtics shot 20-40 (50%) from 3-point range and made 9 more 3-pointers than the previous game, in this game, the Heat outscored the Heat 30 points higher.
Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown shot 8-13 (61.5 percent) from 3-point range in Game 2, but Marcus Smart’s performance really lifted the Celtics in Performance on both ends of the pitch.
After missing Game 1 with a sprained foot, Smart was ready for Game 2 on Thursday, contributing to Boston with 24 points on a 5-12 three-pointer.
From offense to defense, from defense to offense, the Celtics controlled the tempo of the game all night, and no one on the Heat’s roster other than Jimmy Butler was able to settle down and make any progress.
Now that the series is locked in Boston at 1-1 for the next two games, it’s really not known who has the upper hand in this series and will likely go further.
Here’s what we learned from the Celtics’ Game 2 win over the Heat on Thursday.
Maybe Defensive Player of the Year isn’t just about defense
Marcus Smart was the recipient of the Defensive Player of the Year award this season, and rightfully so, since he’s one of the best all-around defenders in the regular season.
His defensive end for the Celtics is unparalleled, but it’s not just where he makes an impact. In Game 2, Smart was the most active player on Boston’s court, doing everything he could to help the team win.
Smart finished with 24 points, 9 rebounds, 12 assists, 3 steals and a block on a 5-12 3-pointer. From offense to defense, Marcus Smart gave the Celtics 40 minutes of playing time, and he turned out to be the best player in the team’s winning midfield.
All year long, Smart has been the main mover and point guard for the Celtics, taking the pressure off Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum to have to play for the team. do anything.
Since he didn’t rotate in Game 1, Tatum and Brown were really the Celtics’ only playmakers, allowing the Heat to keep attacking them and forcing some unnecessary turnovers.
Now, with Marcus Smart back on the floor, Boston’s offense is more consistent and, most importantly, better able to spread the floor and move the ball. Smart’s value to this team goes well beyond his contribution to defense, and if he can continue to be a factor in perimeter shooting, the Celtics will have the upper hand in this series.
Peyton Pritchard…yes, he’s still important
Remember when we talked about that little guard at the end of the Celtics bench after Game 1 of this series? Yes, we’re talking about Peyton Pritchard again, because he’s quickly becoming a big part of Boston’s rotation.
He may not have played much in the regular season or last year’s rookie season, but everywhere we saw flashes of Pritchard’s 3-point advantage. If you look back at footage from his time at Oregon, it’s clear that the young guard is well-equipped to be a key 3-point scorer in the league.
So far in the playoffs, Pritchard has scored in double figures off the bench in five games, including a 2-6 10-point 2-6 victory over the Heat on Thursday. During the regular season, Peyton Pritchard scored at least 10 points only 19 times!
In his final three games with the Celtics, Pritchard is now averaging 14.0 points on a 10-23 (43.5 percent) 3-point range. A true shooting threat off the bench, the Celtics have a lot of trust in the young guard, and he has contributed to them so far.
Marcus Smart missed Game 1 with a foot injury and Pritchard had 18 points. Derrick White missed Game 2 due to the birth of their first child, and congratulations to the Derricks by the way, Pritchard scored 10 points off the bench.
The Celtics did find something in the 6-foot-1 guard near the end of their bench, and all of a sudden, he went from being an obscure guy to someone who had to be tight on the floor.
I said it after the first game, and I’ll say it again after the second game:
Peyton Pritchard was the key to the Celtics, not only winning the series against the Heat, but the Finals.
His offensive contributions take a lot of pressure off the Boston stars, and given that they have one of the worst bench scoring teams in the league, any contribution Pritchard makes to the Celtics will give them a boost on offense. to a huge advantage.
Bam Adebayo must stand up
Look, Jimmy Butler could go out there and perform for the Miami Heat, like he’s been doing all offseason, but this series boils down to a third key star between the Heat and the Celtics.
Butler will get his basket for Miami and Tatum will get his basket for Boston, but who will be the third man in this series?
Maybe the Celtics will be Jaylen Brown, but it has to be Bam Adebayo for the Heat to get back into the Finals and have a chance of winning a title.
Credit the Celtics’ defense to his struggles early in this series, but Bam Adebayo has to be aggressive and be on the offensive end in Boston’s games 3 and 4 of this series Scoring, especially since the current Celtics lost the Heat at home for the first time in these playoffs, has a little momentum.
So far, in Games 1 and 2, Adebayo has combined for 16 points on 6-10 shooting, and he has only 13 rebounds in total. Those numbers aren’t bad for role players, but Bam Adebayo is a former All-Star and the second-best player on the Heat’s roster.
Again, Robert Williams III and Al Horford in Game 2 did a good job of limiting Adebayo’s chances in the paint, but at some point the stars in the league just took over, no matter what. What other teams throw at them.
This needs to be Adebayo’s mentality going forward, otherwise, the Celtics are likely to get out of hand in this series. Tyler Herro, Max Struth and other second-tier scorers can only do so much for Miami, and Jimmy Butler probably won’t be scoring 40 points a night and filling in for Bam Adebayo Vacant, this team needs their second All-Star to really stand out.
NBA basketball news
- Eastern Conference Finals: Jimmy Butler was born for these moments: All-Star Jimmy Butler demonstrated his “all in” to win the championship this season when All-Star Jimmy Butler led the Miami Heat to a Game 1 victory over the Boston Celtics in the Eastern Conference Finals on Tuesday night. click here.
- Jimmy Butler’s bold offer after Game 2: Jimmy Butler met with the media after the Miami Heat’s Game 2 loss to the Boston Celtics on Thursday night. click here.