Jayson Tatum Leads Boston to 102-82 Win Over Miami, Tie ECF Series At 2-2

Jayson Tatum finished Monday’s Game 4 with 31 points, eight rebounds, and five assists to lead Boston to a 102-82 win over Miami. The double-digit win helps Boston improve to 5-0 in the playoffs after a loss and 11-1 in their last 12 games.

Boston never looked back after racing out to a quick 8-0 run to begin Game 3. They eventually grabbed a 20-point lead in the first quarter, preventing Miami from scoring a field goal until the 3:22 mark, the longest drought in playoff history. The Celtics’ defense also held the Heat to 33.3 percent shooting from the field, including 38.9 percent from deep. Miami ultimately missed 15 of its first 16 shots.

“I think just starting off better,” Tatum said when asked about Boston’s stifling defensive effort. “Obviously, last game, we were down 20 in the first quarter; they were just a little too comfortable. They’re a really good team; they got great players. With great players, you can’t just make it easy. You gotta make it tough, stay connected and communicate.”

Boston also held Miami’s starters to just 18 points on 7-36 combined shooting from the field., Bam Adebayo led Miami’s starting five with nine points and six rebounds. Victor Oladipo led all Heat scorers with 23 points, four rebounds, and six assists.

Meanwhile, Tatum had a redeem game after being held to 10 points in Saturday’s Game 3 loss. Tattum scored 12 points in the opening frame, including this crafty reverse layup nearly four minutes into the game.

“We just came back and redeemed ourselves,” Tatum said. “We knew this was a game that we really needed to protect home court. Just following the last game, we were just ready to play; everybody was just ready to get back out here and play better.

As Tatum rose to the occasion, so did the rest of his teammates, who kept up the defensive pressure and smothered Miami, and prevented the Heat from getting comfortable at any point. Robert Williams (12 points, nine rebounds, two blocks) and Al Horford (five points, 13 rebounds, three assists, four blocks) recorded six combined blocks, with Tatum contributing two of his own.

“Al is our leader,” Tatum said about the veteran out of Florida. “I’ve been fortunate to have AL as a teammate for three years. He’s been great for me and my development, just the ultimate professional. It’s no surprise how he takes care of himself and the way he performs in big games.”

Game 4 was never close on Monday, and now Boston and Miami will be wrestling for control when the ECF series shifts back to Miami for Game 4. From this point on, the seven-game series is now a best-of-three series.