Boston Celtics: 3 takeaways from C’s Game 1 loss to Miami

The Boston Celtics and Miami Heat at the FTX Arena in Game 2 Thursday night Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports
The Boston Celtics and Miami Heat at the FTX Arena in Game 2 Thursday night Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports /
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The Boston Celtics couldn’t come back from a disastrous third quarter, falling by a final score of 118-107 in the first game of this Eastern Conference Finals series. Coming off of an inspiring first half, Boston was exhausted on both ends of the court, as they were outscored by 25 in the third period alone.

In the late afternoon, it was announced that Boston would be without both Marcus Smart and Al Horford for at least the first contest. Smart had been dealing with a mid-foot sprain suffered during Game 7 of the last round, while Horford entered Health and Safety Protocols just a few hours before tip.

It’s unclear how long both of them will be sidelined, but after Game 1, it’s evident the Boston Celtics will need their regular starting unit back on the court.

The C’s looked like the better team throughout the entire first half — winning Game 1 on the opponent’s home court, while missing two starters would have been a monumental victory.

Unfortunately, Boston finds themselves in a situation where they essentially have to win game two, thus stealing home-court advantage away from Miami.

With this in mind, let’s look at 3 takeaways from Game 1 that will apply to the rest of the series.

Boston Celtics takeaway No. 1) Overall energy level

Coming into the series, the Boston Celtics were billed as having the better of the two defenses, being the first ones to any loose ball. This didn’t look to be the case on Tuesday night, with Jimmy Butler and company having an impressive second half on the defensive side of the ball.

Jayson Tatum had six turnovers in the third quarter alone, many of them on lazy passes. Butler intercepted two in a row, simply out-hustling the entire Celtics team. This lack of energy can be attributed to the difference in rest the two teams had — Boston having to play one of the most physical series in recent playoff history, ending in a game seven just 48 hours prior to Tuesday’s bout, while Miami last played Thursday against an overmatched Philadelphia team.

It’s expected for the Celtics to be tired considering the circumstances.

However, players were just walking up the court, needing frequent rests. Tatum’s minutes were not managed properly, as he played 35 out of the first 36, only getting a considerable rest at the start of the fourth quarter when the game was already out of hand.

The combination of exhaustion and the shorter rotation due to injuries proved to be too much for Boston. With this series being played every other day until its completion, Boston’s going to have to dig deep, matching Miami’s energy level and physicality in order to advance to the Finals.