Celtics collapse late, let Heat surge to 1-0 series lead

Douglas P. DeFelice/Getty Images
By Ty Anderson, 985TheSportsHub.com

With the ball in his right hand and a tie game in his sight with four seconds left in overtime of Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals between the Celtics and Heat, Jayson Tatum was stopped by the left hand of Miami's Bam Adebayo.

It was as thunderous a block as you'll see in the postseason (or any season for that matter), and enough for the Heat to seal the deal on their comeback victory, 117-114, and a 1-0 series lead over Boston.

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Bam Adebayo rejects Tatum at the rim [email protected] take Game 1 in OT(via @NBA) pic.twitter.com/cDlurgkii0

The lost was a straight-up brutal one for the C's, too, with Boston blowing a 14-point fourth-quarter lead, and finding themselves sent to overtime with some nightmarish possessions to end regulation. The first one coming from Kemba Walker, who bled about 20 seconds off the clock before trying to find a good look on a one-versus-three in about three. That looked to failed go away. And then came a game-ending miss from Tatum, once again with Boston not doing much of anything for entirely too long in ISO before settling for a low-percentage chance from deep.

In fact, the only reason the Celtics, who went the final 2:52 with just one make from the floor, even forced an overtime, came by way of a Marcus Smart foul that forced Tatum to the line for the game-tying free throw and Boston possession.

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Brad Stevens said there was too much pounding the ball and not enough space the way the Heat were guarding late.

The C's began overtime with the frame's first four points, but a pair of free-throw makes from Goran Dragic and a wide-open three from Jae Crowder put the Heat up by one with three minutes left in the overtime. But once again, old habits died hard for the Celtics, with Jimmy Butler bodying the C's under the basket for a go-ahead look before Adebayo's block.

The loss ruined what was another spectacular night from deep from Marcus Smart, who dropped six of 13 looks from beyond the arc, and finished with 26 points by the night's end. Tatum, meanwhile, led all Boston shooters with 30 points on 10-for-24 from the floor, while Walker struggled to the tune of 19 points on 6-for-19, including one-for-nine from deep, shooting.

Miami, meanwhile, had three starters finish with at least 20 points, led by Dragic's 29 points. Jae Crowder had 22, and Butler rounded out that three-headed monster with 20, including the aforementioned late-game make.

Celtics forward Gordon Hayward, who is expected to return to play 'at some point' this round, missed Game 1 due to his right ankle sprain, and has now missed 11 straight postseason contests.

Game 2 will have a 7 p.m. tipoff this Thursday.

Ty Anderson is a writer and columnist for 985TheSportsHub.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Yell at him on Twitter: @_TyAnderson.