When the whole world including the fans in Boston thought it was over, the Boston Celtics responded to send the East Finals back to the Northeast.
Despite all the criticism this Boston Celtics team has been given all year, one cannot say they don’t have any heart. This franchise is now 6-1 in their last seven elimination games, showing once again that their best basketball has always been saved for when they need it the most. It was not just Jayson Tatum coming alive in the second half scoring 25 points in the final 24 minutes, Boston’s role players stepped up.
The story of this series has continuously been no matter who the Cs have doubled, there has always been someone on the Miami Heat that will kill them. Whether it be Caleb Martin, Max Strus, or Gabe Vincent, the role players for the Florida side have been the biggest reason Boston is in such a hole. Joe Mazzulla’s men flipped the script in Game 4, displaying why they have some of the best depth in the NBA. Al Horford, Derrick White, Marcus Smart, and Grant Williams combined to convert on 13 of the C’s 18 total threes on the night.
Creating open shots, and knocking them down in the halfcourt while forcing Miami into their own mistakes saved Boston’s season on the road for the second time in the last month. If the Cs want to pull off this sensational come-from-behind series win, a lot of things are going to have to go right, especially against a team that is coached by Erik Spoelstra. Here are three keys the men in green must follow if they want to achieve the unthinkable:
3 keys the Boston Celtics need to follow in order to make NBA playoff history
Don’t get discouraged when Miami makes a run
Game 4 was the blueprint for this ball club. Jimmy Butler will make spectacular mid-range jumpers, and at times Martin will covert on his shots from the great beyond, but that does not mean this team should stop playing. The final few minutes of the third quarter was exactly what Boston must do when the Heat begin to gain some confidence offensively.
Following a Butler three and a Cody Zeller and-one, the home side had cut the C’s lead to just four with under five minutes to play before the fourth quarter. Mazzulla has stressed more than once during this postseason run that his team needs to figure out how to finish quarters strong. Boston made a 13-0 run in the third, and the eight-seeded Heat did not waver. It is about being both mentally tough and trusting the team around you to make the correct play. They did exactly that with their backs against the wall in south beach on Tuesday.
After Miami collected two straight offensive boards leading to a Butler 3-pointer, the boys in green could have very well folded as they did in Games 1-3. Instead, Tatum gave up the ball to Williams on the wing who fed it to Smart in the corner who knocked down a vital 3-pointer that would sway the momentum back into Boston’s favor. It is all about staying together through the moments during a game when a team could very well fall apart.
Sustaining a lead in the playoffs is tough, but with the help of some timeouts by Mazzulla and a relaxed attitude by the players on the floor, the Boston Celtics will be back to playing the kind of basketball the NBA world knows they can.