Celtics Wrap: Boston Comes Up Empty In Fourth Quarter, Heat Take Game 1

Boston was a no-show in the fourth quarter


May 17, 2023

BOSTON — The Celtics dropped Game 1 of their Eastern Conference finals series with the Miami Heat, falling 123-116, on Wednesday night at TD Garden.

The Heat strike first, taking a 1-0 series lead over the Celtics.

Check out the full box score here.

There was no question that the Celtics would have their hands full, taking on a scrappy and determined Heat squad in a best-of-seven series with an NBA Finals appearance at stake.

Well, that’s exactly what Game 1 turned out to be for Boston, kicking off its third conference finals battle with Miami in the last four years. The Celtics and Heat came down to the wire as Miami put together a 12-point lead, its greatest at that point, before the end of the third quarter. Jimmy Butler scored 13, like the Heat, getting whatever look he so wised, in part of a 46-25 blowout quarter.

The Celtics tried to regroup, going on a 7-0 run to cut the deficit to five points and uplift a TD Garden crowd that showered them with boos after their catastrophic, and nearly costly, third quarter. However, a series of costly turnovers, failed attempts to knock down a timely shot, plus being haunted by seven missed free throws, and the Celtics fumbled yet again at capitalizing on their homecourt advantage.

— Jayson Tatum led Boston, scoring 30 points with seven rebounds and a block, but completely disappeared in the fourth quarter, scoring all six points in the final frame at the free-throw line.

— Butler was on-brand and in full playoff mode, finishing with a game-leading 35 points. The 33-year-old also had five rebounds, seven assists and six steals in his complete performance, shooting 12-of-25 from the field and a perfect 8-for-8 from the free-throw line.

— Malcolm Brogdon led Boston’s reserve unit, providing 19 points of contribution off the bench with two rebounds and an assist.

Marcus Smart certainly played the role of a point guard, and early. FanDuel Sportsbook set the over/under of Smart’s assist total at 5.5 with +110 odds on the Over. But Boston’s leader shattered those odds quickly, recording 10 assists by halftime. A $100 wager placed on Smart would’ve resulted in a $210 total payout.

The Celtics, in search of a bounce-back victory, return to action with the Heat for Game 2 on Friday night. Tipoff from TD Garden is scheduled for 8:30 p.m. ET.

Thumbnail photo via Bob DeChiara/USA TODAY Sports Images
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