The Miami Heat were absolutely embarrassed by the Boston Celtics in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Finals, taking a 102-82 loss at the TD Garden on Monday, May 23. The Heat struggled on both offense and defense, trailing by over 20 points throughout all four quarters.
While it’s hard to find any positive things to say about the Heat’s performance, the fact remains that Miami took two hard Game 3 and Game 4 losses against the Philadelphia 76ers during the Eastern Conference semifinals, and can still turn things around against Boston.
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What’s perhaps most frustrating about the Heat’s loss on Monday night is that the Celtics were playing without Marcus Smart, NBA’s 2022 Defensive Player of the Year. Save for Tyler Herro being out, the Heat were at full strength, and this seemed like a perfect opportunity for the Heat to grab a major, series-shifting win.
However, the Heat’s starting lineup, Jimmy Butler, Kyle Lowry, P.J. Tucker, Max Strus, and Bam Adebayo, scored a total of 18 points. Celtics star Jayson Tatum, who put up a team-high 31 points, outscored the Heat’s entire starting lineup by 13 points.
During the postgame press conference, Heat’s head coach Erik Spoelstra sent a strong message to the Celtics squad. “Whatever they’ve done to us, we can do to them,” Coach Spo said. “None of us are happy about what happened tonight. We can be much better than we were tonight.”
Spoelstra did his best to remain optimistic, chalking up this game as just one, incredibly bad loss. “It can get away from either team at any time,” he said, “and that’s what you saw tonight. We have guys who love competition, love these kinds of moments, the playoffs. And this is part of the playoffs – there’s extreme highs, extreme lows.”
Victor Oladipo was the Only Bright Spot on the Heat’s Offense
With Heat’s usual starting lineup unable to get anything done on offense, Miami guard Victor Oladipo came off the bench and led the team in scoring with 23 points, along with four rebounds and six assists.
Forward Caleb Martin also did his best to keep the Heat alive, putting up 12 points along with six rebounds and one assist. Duncan Robinson, who played for a total of 23 minutes, started off cold, but ended up with 14 points, shooting 4-of-8 from beyond the arc, along with four rebounds and two steals.
Adebayo, who had a star-turning role in Game 3, putting up 31 points and 10 rebounds, fizzled out on Monday night. In Game 4, he scored just nine points with six rebounds and two assists.
Overall, Miami finished the night shooting 33.3% from the field (30 for 90), per Miami Herald’s Barry Jackson.
Heat Return to Miami for Game 5
Hopefully, the Heat will turn things around when the series returns to Miami. Here’s the full remaining schedule for the Heat/Celtics series:
Game 5: Wednesday, May 25: FTX Arena, 8:30 p.m., ESPN
Game 6: Friday, May 27, TD Garden, 8:30 p.m., ESPN
Game 7: Sunday, May 29: FTX Arena, 8:30 p.m., ESPN