Celtics Defense Rules Game 4…Series Heads Back to Miami Tomorrow Night Tied 2-2
The Celtics took care of business last night and evened up the Eastern Conference finals at 2 games apiece. The packed T.D. Garden crowd had plenty to cheer about from tip-off to the final buzzer. The game never got close with the Celts dropping in 29 points in the 1st quarter compared to just 11 by the Heat. The C’s 102 to 82 win sends the series back to Miami tomorrow night from Game 5 and guarantees a Game 6 back in Boston on Friday.
Jason Tatum led the C’s with 31 points, 14 from 16 free throw attempts. The rest of the Celtics' scoring was evenly distributed, but the defense was the difference last night. With Marcus Smart, the NBA’s Defensive Player of the Year, out with an ankle injury, Al Horford stepped up and had the biggest impact on defense bringing down 13 rebounds and blocking 4 shots. The return of big-man Robert Williams from his knee injury set the tone under the basket at both ends of the court. Williams had 9 rebounds and 2 big blocked shots while dropping in 12 on offense.
The Celtics were embarrassed in Game 3 on their home court on Saturday and rebounded last night like they have done 4 other times during this playoff run. Following a playoff loss, this season the Celtics are 5 and 0—a trait of a championship team. The good guys put Game 3 behind them, refocused, and took care of business.
Celtics fans can smell blood in the water and will be cheering for a win in Miami tomorrow night and a chance for a Game 6 win in Boston Friday that would send the Celtics to the NBA Finals against the Golden State Warriors or the Dallas Mavericks. Knowing the ups and downs of the first 4 games even Celtics fans wouldn’t be surprised if this series goes 7.
In the West, the Mavericks are facing elimination tonight at home. The Warriors have had an easy time against the Mavs and lead that series 3 games to 0. They sweep with a win tonight and will be plenty rested for Game 1 of the NBA Finals scheduled for June 2nd, one week from today. Tonight’s tipoff is at 9 PM.