MIAMI —Halftime was Tuesday and the Eastern Conference finals were in full control.
The third quarter came and went. After the third quarter,The Heat swept the Celtics out of the arena, scoring them 39-14. They used their physicality and sent Boston into a spiral of unforced errors and miscues. To win the opening game in this best-of-7 tournament
“More important than anything, it just demonstrates our capabilities whenever we worry getting stops, getting onto the open floor and getting to the free throw lines, all those great things.”With his most recent spectacular performance in these playoffs, he led Miami's charge with 41 points, 17 in the decisive third quarter, nine rebounds, and five assists in just 41 minutes.
It just reminds us that we can do this. It's on this piece paper. It was real for me. It's what I expected from us.
This is a very high standard to meet. Miami dominated Boston in the third quarter, to the point that the Celtics had their worst 12 minutes so far in these playoffs. It was also the worst quarter Boston has ever seen.
“[We]Ime Udoka, Celtics coach, said that they were out-toughed and out-physicaled. “They came out looking like they had a second half. They wanted to be more physical and aggressive on both sides, and they did that.”
They sure did.
Here are some of the most shocking statistics that were compiled by this quarter.
The quarter was a disappointing quarter for the Celtics, who shot 2-for-15 from field. This is their worst shooting quarter in either the regular season or the playoffs.
After Boston had gone 15-for-28 with contested shots in halftime, the Celtics were just 1-for-12 in the third quarter.
Boston was without a field goal for 7 minutes and 7 seconds in the first quarter.
Boston scored in less than 7 minutes the last time it took to score in a quarter, Game 3 of 2002 Eastern Conference semifinals against the. What was the final score in that game? Boston wins 66 to 64
Boston had eight team turnovers, while Boston had six for the quarter. Boston had eight in the third quarter. Boston had more than Boston in all three quarters. Boston's turnovers were also a factor in the Heat scoring 12 of their 19 points.
All of this added up to Miami's 1-0 win in the series, despite losing the second, third, and fourth quarters.
Erik Spoelstra, Heat coach said that the guys were disappointed at halftime. “I didn't need to say much. Everyone was disappointed in our defensive effort, focus and focus. We're facing a very talented team. We are not the only ones saying it, but we also have to do better. They are putting tremendous pressure on our defense, which is what you can expect from reaching this level.
After Boston had won the first half with relative ease, Boston needed to reverse that trend. After a seven-game battle with the defending champion, the Heat are now in the thick of it.Boston ended the series in an emphatic fashion on Game 7, and the Celtics seem to have carried that momentum into this half. The Celtics held a lead of 62-54 in the first half, led by Tatum's 21 points, and shot 59% from beyond the arc.
Tatum scored 16 points in that first half — the most Tatum has ever had in any half of his career — and Boston outscored Miami by 42-24.
Tatum's play was symbolic of Boston’s strong first half. However, Tatum's horrible third quarter was a sign that Boston was in complete chaos after the break. Tatum scored 2 points in the second quarter on 1-for-7 shooting. In addition to the six terrible turnovers in the first half, Miami had three consecutive pick-6 turnovers which turned into layups and dunks at each end. This was part of a 22-22 run that opened the second half that gave Miami a commanding lead.
Tatum said, “It's obvious that I don’t want to flip the damn ball and s— like this.” “But, I suppose that things happen throughout a game and they go on runs. They did.
“Throughout the playoffs, our team has done a fantastic job of responding after being called timeout. We did not today, for some reason. I will be the first to admit that I am responsible. I have to be a better leader. I need to play better in those moments. I look forward to next game.”
Boston will be looking to counter in Game 2The lineup. Smart made a passionate speech to the team on the bench, trying to get things back on track after the awful third quarter. But that was all that he could do. .
Boston had lost Smart, who had been questionable all the day to play, and they were also without him.The unexpected entry of a player into the NBA's safety protocols and health protocols was just a couple hours prior to tipoff. He is unlikely ever to return to the court until at least Game 3.
“We have to be more disciplined.”said. “Obviously, Al was not in our plans. Smart and Al were not prepared for us. This is not an excuse. We have to do better.
“We had the game under our control in the first half. In the third quarter we lost control. We have to improve. You have to be better on both sides, and more discipline. We fouled way too often, and the game was lost for us. This is the end of the story.
ESPN Stats & Information contributed to this report.