Boston Celtics

The Celtics bounced back in a big way in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Finals Thursday night. After seeing a second-half lead evaporate in Game 1, this time out they built an insurmountable lead through the first 24 minutes on their way to a 127-102 win.

Unlike Game 1 when the Celtics got off to the hot start, the Heat found their groove first in Game 2. They jumped out to an 18-8 lead just five minutes into the quarter hitting seven of their first 10 shots including four of their first five threes.

In turn, the Celtics responded with a 7-0 run as the offense started to click. That turned into a 15-3 run, with a Payton Pritchard three off a beautiful feed from Jaylen Brown gave Boston its first lead of the night, 23-21 with three minutes to play in the first. They made the most of those last three minutes and built on their lead creating a 21-points swing. Boston was up 35-24 at the first quarter break.

Early in the second, the Celtics stayed locked in from deep. They extended their lead with a 12-4 run over the first four minutes, capped with another Pritchard three.

That lead continued to grow continuously throughout the second quarter, maxing out at 29 points. Heading into halftime, the C’s had a 70-45 lead.

Miami played the Celtics even for the first six minutes of the third, prompting Ime Udoka to call a timeout. Miami made a few small charges coming out of the break, but the Celtics answered each time and the quarter was ultimately played to a draw. Entering the final 12 minutes, Boston led 96-71.

After weathering the third quarter, the Celtics came out strong again in the fourth. Early in the period, they stretched their lead to 30 for the first time in the game. Udoka was able to turn to the reserves to close out the final six minutes of the game.

Jayson Tatum was locked in and finished with a game-high 27 points on 8-of-13 shooting which included a 4-of-6 night from three. He also had five rebounds and five assists.

Marcus Smart also showed up big in the box score after missing game 1 with a foot injury. He had 24 points, 12 rebounds, and nine assists with three steals. Jaylen Brown also scored 24 points after his big first half. Grant Williams led all bench scorers with 19.

On the other side, Jimmy Butler had another productive night with 29 points. However, he was pretty much it for Miami’s offense, with no other Heat player scoring more than 14 points.

With this win, the Celtics even the series at 1-1 as action shifts back to Boston. Game 3 gets started at 8:30 p.m. on Saturday, with pregame coverage beginning at 8 on 98.5 The Sports Hub and the 98.5 The Sports Hub Celtics Radio Network.

PHOTOS: Celtics take on Heat in Game 2 of 2022 Eastern Conference Finals