The Boston Celtics once again have their work cut out for them after a 112-109 loss to the Miami Heat in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference finals Wednesday night.
The Heat now hold a 3-1 lead in the best-of-seven series. Boston will need to win each of the final three games to advance to the NBA Finals.
Miami’s Tyler Herro scored 37 points, 17 in the fourth quarter, to help the Heat claim the win. Boston’s offensive miscues (19 turnovers) were a major factor in the loss. Boston committed 11 more turnovers than Miami did, with seven in the fourth quarter.
In addition to Herro, Miami’s Bam Adebayo scored 20 points with 12 rebounds, Jimmy Butler poured in 24 while Goran Dragic added 22 points of his own.
Celtics’ Jayson Tatum rebounded after a bad first half, scoring 28 points in the final 19 minutes. Jaylen Brown added 21 points, nine rebounds while Kemba Walker scored 20 of his own. Marcus Smart had a double-double of his own (10 points, 11 assists).
Here’s how it went down:
PG: Kemba Walker
SG: Marcus smart
SF: Jaylen Brown
PF: Jayson Tatum
C: Daniel Theis
It was a high-intensity quarter on the defensive end of the floor, with Miami holding a 24-23 lead after the first 12 minutes.
Boston shot 40% (8-for-20) from the field while Miami shot 42.9% (9-for-21) from the floor. Part of the Celtics’ scoring struggles were that of Tatum, who missed each of the five shots he took in the frame.
Walker led the Celtics in the first, scoring nine points in nine minutes. Brown (six points) and Smart (four) also chipped in some offensive contributions. Robert Williams made an impact off the bench with four points of his own.
Butler and Adebayo each had six points for the Heat.
Herro scored seven early points and the Heat took their then-largest lead of the series (eight points) before holding a 50-44 advantage into the half.
It didn’t get any better for Tatum, who shot 0-for-6 in nearly 17 minutes played. The NBA All-Star did, however, compile seven rebounds and three assists to go along with three turnovers.
Turnovers were a problem for more than just Tatum. Boston turned the ball over 11 times while Miami had just four. The Heat also held a slight advantage in shooting percentage (42.2% to 40%).
Walker led the Celtics with 12 points while Brown added 10. Herro led Miami with a game-high 15 in the first half.
Miami took a nine-point lead three minutes into the quarter and extended it to as much as 12 points. But the Celtics rallied back behind Tatum to cut the Heat lead to 77-76 heading into the fourth.
Tatum’s first basket came with 6:48 left in the third after 22 minutes on the court, finishing the quarter with 16 points. His production came as Boston did a much better job attacking Miami’s zone defense, which they had struggled with during the early going.
Herro, though, led all scorers with 20 points through three quarters. The Celtics improved their shooting percentage to 46% (29-for-63) after 36 minutes while the Heat shot 40.9% (27-for-66) heading into the fourth.
Brown climbed to 15 points while Walker had 14.
MIAMI PULLS IT OUT
The Celtics made a run at it, even taking an 85-84 lead with 8:44 left. But Miami got out front and stayed there behind Herro’s 17 fourth-quarter points and Boston’s continued turnovers problems.
The Heat used consecutive Boston turnovers to go on a 7-0 run. Not long after, with 5:38 left, Miami extended their one-point deficit to an eight-point lead.
Herro hit a key 3-pointer to give Miami an eight-point lead with 4:09 left. Buttler hit a turnaround to make it a seven-point game and Herro gave Miami a nine-point lead again with less than a minute left.
Tatum converted on a pair of 3-pointers, Brown hit one of his from long range and Walker made three free throws with 9.2 seconds left to cut Boston’s deficit to 109-107.
Butler, however, hit three free throws down the stretch to help Miami pull it out.
The Celtics will face the Heat in Game 4 on Friday night with tip off set for 8:30 p.m. ET.