Ime Udoka, Celtics Players Explain Third-Quarter Struggles In Game 1

The Celtics were outscored by 25 points in the third

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The Celtics had a great first half against the Heat in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference finals on Tuesday, but Miami outscored Boston by 25 points in the third quarter en route to a 118-107 win at FTX Arena.

The Celtics had a slow start to the third quarter, which allowed the Heat to work their way back. Jimmy Butler had a historic outing, leading the game with 41 points.

“It seemed like everything was going their way, and we were just standing around watching,” Jaylen Brown told reporters, per NBC Sports Boston video.

The Celtics starting a third quarter sluggish is not something new. However, it is not an ideal habit, especially in the NBA playoffs.

“We tend to have slow starts in the third quarter these playoffs, and I think it?s something we just have to focus in on and try to control it,” Payton Pritchard told reporters, per The Athletic’s Jared Weiss.

A common theme for the Celtics in their postgame press conferences was the third quarter. Jayson Tatum led the team with 29 points, but the star forward’s turnovers were costly for Boston.

“I think we just gotta come out with a little more sense of urgency in the third, and that?s on all of us,” Tatum told reporters, per Weiss.

Celtics head coach Ime Udoka added: “We all got caught up in the officiating in the third quarter.”

Udoka had a different story on what happened in the third quarter. While the Celtics are known for their physical defense, the Heat are no slouch on defense either, and Miami asserted its dominance in the second half.

“We got out-toughed and out-physicaled,” Udoka told reporters, per NBA writer Keith Smith. “They looked like they want to up their physicality and aggression and we looked like we didn’t want to match it? We lost our composure.”

The Celtics will get their chance to tie the series against the Heat on Thursday. Tipoff is set for 8:30 p.m. ET at FTX Arena.

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