The Boston Celtics ran into their Achilles heel again, and it cost them Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Finals.
The Celtics were outscored by 20 points (!!) in the 12-minute third quarter. Miami scored 23 of the final 29 points in the quarter, not only overtaking its 13-point deficit, but ultimately taking a seven-point lead into the final frame.
The Heat, as you may have heard, went on to claim a 106-101 victory and take a 2-0 lead in the best-of-seven series.
Simply, what happened?
“We pulled apart,” Celtics head coach Brad Stevens said, as seen on NBC Sports Boston’s postgame coverage. “We didn’t play well and they did a good job. We’re not beating this team if we’re not completely connected on both ends of the court. So, you got to get back to being that. But right now they’re a better team. And we’re going to have to fight to get back into the series.”
The Heat shot 38.3 percent from the field in the first half with Bam Adebayo scoring merely four points. The Heat big man, however, scored 15 of his 19 points in the third while Miami increased their shooting percentage to 45.1 percent after three quarters. It depicts the easy looks the Heat got, both inside with Adebayo and another two 3-pointers from Duncan Robinson.
Kemba Walker expressed his thoughts on the 12-minute span, as well.
“They outplayed us. They outplayed us. It was really unacceptable on our behalf,” Walker said. “It was just a really bad quarter for us. We didn’t continue to do the things that we did to get us up, to get us that lead. I think we got kind of comfortable and those guys, they took advantage of it. They played hard. They played really hard. They played a lot harder than us. They wanted it.”
Jaylen Brown knows those stretches, which have become far too common for the C’s dating back to their Eastern Conference semifinals series against the Toronto Raptors, can’t continue to happen. After all, the Celtics now have to win four of the next five games.
“Both games (this series) we’ve had moments where we have lapses and that team over there is together for 48 minutes,” Brown said of Miami. “And we got to be together for 48 minutes and match that. I think we’ve yet to do that. I think we’re capable. I think we need every piece and everybody to be all in and continue to bring that energy.”
The Celtics will face the Heat in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Finals on Saturday, with tip off set for 8:30 p.m. ET.
Thumbnail photo via Kim Klement/USA TODAY Sports Images