The hot-shooting Boston Celtics knocked down 50% of their 3-point shots en route to a dominating 25-point victory against the Miami Heat in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference finals. The Celtics evened the series at 1-1.
The Eastern Conference finals shift to Boston for the next two games, with Game 3 scheduled for Friday and Game 4 slated for Sunday. The Celtics opened Game 3 as a -6.5 favorite, but the line is currently -6.
After dropping Game 1, the Celtics are back to being the betting favorite to win the series at -230 odds, according to DraftKings. The Heat are +190 to pick off the Celtics and advance to the NBA Finals.
The Celtics saw their 2022 NBA Championship odds improve to +200 after tying the series at 1-1. The Heat slipped to +500 odds to win the title after losing Game 2.
Celtics: downtown snipers
The Celtics were down 18-8 in the first five minutes before head coach Ime Udoka called a time out and told his squad to “Wake the f— up!”
The team responded and awoke from their early slumber with smothering defense and elite shooting. The Celtics went on a 24-3 run for a 21-point swing. In the second quarter, the Celtics went on a 21-7 run to push their lead to 22 points. By the time the halftime buzzer sounded, the Celtics extended their lead to 25 points.
“We wanted to have bodies in front of bodies,” added Udoka. “Good physicality, good pickup points, and good attention to detail on certain guys, aggressive reads, aggressive switches, and they pretty much saw a body every time they came off and didn’t get a lot of clean shots.”
Three players scored at least 24 points for the Celtics. Jayson Tatum led the team with 27, while Marcus Smart and Jaylen Brown added 24 points each. Grant Williams contributed 19 points off the bench. Smart returned to action for the Celtics in Game 2 after missing the first game with a sprained foot.
The Celtics jacked up 40 treys and knocked down 20 of them for a 50% success rate. Tatum, Brown, and Al Horford combined for 10-for-15 from downtown. Smart hit five treys out of a dozen attempts.
“Guys have pride and looked at a golden opportunity that we kind of lost in Game 1 and thought we could do much better,” said Udoka. “And we did that tonight.”
Heat: swiss cheese D
The Heat jumped out to a double-digit lead at the start of the first quarter, but then everything went off the rails. The Celtics caught fire to erase the 10-point deficit, and finish the first quarter ahead by 11.
The Heat allowed the Celtics to score 70 points in the first half, with 35 points in each of the first and second quarters. They went into halftime down 25 points and couldn’t mount a significant comeback in the second half.
“They came out and hit us in the mouth,” said Bam Adebayo.
The Celtics led by as many as 34 points before the Heat’s benchwarmers trimmed the deficit to 25 in garbage time.
The Heat shot 10-for-34 from 3-point land or just 29.4%. The Heat were outgunned 20-10 on made 3-pointers, which is a 30-point differential in favor of the Celtics.
“They tried to embarrass us,” said Jimmy Butler. “They did embarrass us. Overall, we just have to be better.”
Butler scored 29 points in a losing effort. Gabe Vincent added 14 points starting in place of Kyle Lowry, who missed a fifth-straight game with a hamstring injury.
“They flattened us out, the ball got stagnant,” said Vincent. “We didn’t move it as much when they went on that run.”
Tyler Herro added 11 points off the bench, but his 3-point shooting woes continued. He missed all three attempts in Game 2. He’s 1-for-8 in two games against the Celtics and just 4-for-24 in his last six games for 16.7%.
“We don’t like it and just have to figure some things out,” said Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra.
Check out more of OG’s coverage of the 2022 NBA playoffs.