Boston Celtics

Boston Celtics

Boston Celtics

Jayson Tatum of the Boston Celtics controls the ball against Jimmy Butler of the Miami Heat during Game 4 of the 2023 Eastern Conference Finals. (Photo by Megan Briggs/Getty Images)

The Boston Celtics are still alive.

Jayson Tatum scored 33 points, 25 of which came in the second half, as the C’s caught fire in the third and fourth quarter to pull away for a 116-99 win over the Miami Heat in Game 4 of the 2023 Eastern Conference Finals. Miami still leads the series 3-1, with a chance to eliminate Boston at TD Garden in Game 5 on Thursday night.

Tatum added 11 rebounds, seven assists, one steal, and two blocked shots in a superb overall effort. We could end up wondering if it was too little, too late for Tatum and the Celtics, but they’re not dead yet. They showed enough pride and competitiveness to at least take this series back home for another game.

  • Boston got off to the hot start it needed at 10-4 in the first quarter. But Miami, as they’ve often done in the series, responded with a big run of its own. The Heat outscored the C’s 25-13 for the rest of the first quarter to take a six-point lead into the second.

    Jimmy Butler started much better for the Heat than he did in Game 3, with nine first-quarter points to lead all scorers. Miami continued to be impressively efficient on offense, shooting an even 50 percent as a team (10-for-20).

    The Celtics, meanwhile, shot 44.4 percent collectively (8-for-18). The more troubling stat was turnovers, where Boston committed five, compared to Miami’s two.

  • After a Caleb Martin layup extended the Heat’s lead to eight to start the second quarter, the Celtics battled back with a 14-3 run to briefly go up by three. Jaylen Brown laid in a finger-roll to give the Celtics a one-point lead later in the second, but the Heat closed out the quarter on a 13-6 run to head to halftime up 56-50.

    Tatum and Brown combined for just 15 points on an otherwise efficient 6-for-13 shooting, but it was an underwhelming half for an All-NBA duo in a do-or-die situation. Derrick White had to pick up the slack with a team-high 11 first-half points.

  • The Heat extended the lead to nine at 61-52, but the Celtics answered that with an 18-0 run to go up by nine themselves at 70-61. That prompted a timeout by Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra.

    Consecutive threes by Tatum sparked the Celtics’ big third-quarter run, and the C’s shot 6-for-7 as a team in the span of that 18-0 clip. Miami, meanwhile, went 4:28 of game time without a field goal in the third.

    Boston was able to maintain that nine-point lead for the rest of the quarter.

  • The C’s successfully carried their momentum into the fourth, at one point going on a 12-0 run to go up by 17 points at 100-83. They turned defense into offense during this sequence, blocking three shots and forcing a turnover that led to baskets at the other end.

    Tatum and Brown combined for 17 points over the final 9:22 of the game, in a much-needed strong closeout effort after their lackluster first half.

    The Celtics and Heat will play on, with Game 5 set for an 8:30 p.m. tipoff on Thursday night at TD Garden.

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    Matt Dolloff is a writer and podcaster for Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Have a news tip, question, or comment for Matt? Yell at him on Twitter @mattdolloff and follow him on Instagram @realmattdolloff. Check out all of Matt’s content here.

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