The Miami Heat will have to go back to the drawing board after they were thrashed by the Boston Celtics in a historic playoffs loss.
They say first half leads aren’t real in the NBA, but Boston’s first quarter advantage over Miami in game four of the Eastern Conference Finals turned out to be very real indeed.
The Celtics thrashed the Heat 102-82 to level the series 2-2 and continue the topsy-turvy match-up that is yet to see a genuine nailbiter between the two teams.
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The Heat started ice cold, scoring just 11 points — the fewest first-quarter points in franchise playoff history — shooting just 3-20 (15.8 per cent) from the field.
It wasn’t until late in the first quarter that Miami scored its first field goal as it went into the first break trailing 11-29.
Miami desperately missed the firepower of NBA Sixth Man of the Year Tyler Herro, who was sidelined with a groin injury.
In contrast, the Celtics were on fire and the game was arguably over before the end of the first quarter.
Jayson Tatum had 31 points (24 in the first half), while four other Celtics scored 10 points or more.
Victor Oladipo top-scored for Miami with 23 points but Jimmy Butler had a shocker with just six points as the Heat’s stars went missing. The Heat’s starters combined for just 18 points.
“It is shocking and disappointing,” ESPN commentator Mark Jackson said of Miami’s lacklustre performance.”
“The Miami Heat thrive on outworking you and competing on a different level. When they don’t bring that type of energy, they get beaten by it.”
“I’m at a loss for words,” Mike Breen added.
Boston have tied or outscored Miami in 13 out of 16 quarters in the series so far.