Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Finals was a roller coaster of momentum swings for the Boston Celtics, which ultimately did not end in their favor.
Boston was in total control during the first 24 minutes, as it entered halftime with a 13-point advantage, which soon climbed to a 17-point lead early in the third quarter. Miami, however, responded with a massive third-quarter run that allowed it to take an 84-77 lead into the fourth.
The Celtics were next to respond, as they were able to regain a five-point lead midway through the final frame. Though, the Heat retaliated one last time by finishing off the final four minutes on a 17-7 run, enabling them to escape with a 106-101 victory.
Jimmy Butler was the defensive savior of that final stretch, as he came up with three steals over the last 3:44. Goran Dragic, meanwhile, was the offensive hero, as he broke open a 95-95 tie with 2:21 remaining by scoring seven points over an 84-second span.
Jaylen Brown nearly willed Boston back into the game during the final minute, as he knocked down two consecutive 3-pointers to bring Boston to within three points at 104-101. However, he missed a game-tying attempt from beyond the arc with 15 seconds remaining, and Miami, after corralling the rebound, was able to seal the game on free throws.
Kemba Walker had a strong individual bounce-back effort Thursday night, as he paced the Celtics with 23 points in Game 2. However, it was his point guard counterpart, Goran Dragic, who stole the show down the stretch.
Dragic was subbed into the game with 3:17 remaining with his Heat trailing by two points, but his presence changed everything, as the Heat closed out on an 11-6 run. Dragic, who finished with a game-high 25 points, scored seven of those last 11 points, canning one shot from deep, one shot from mid-range, as well as a pair from the free-throw line.
Dragic also tied for the game-lead in assists with five, corralled three rebounds, and finished with a plus-10 rating during 34 minutes of action.
Box Score Nuggets
- Three Celtics reach the 20-point mark: Kemba Walker (23), Jaylen Brown (21) and Jayson Tatum (21).
- Goran Dragic led the game in scoring with 25 points.
- The Celtics shot 50 percent from the field, while Miami shot 44.4 percent.
- Boston had a 41-38 advantage in the rebounding department.
- No player on either team dished out more than five assists.
- The Celtics had more turnovers (20) than assists (19).
- The Heat only committed nine turnovers.
- Miami's bench had as many offensive rebounds (six) as Boston had as an entire team.
- Boston attempted 10 more free throws (24) than Miami (14).
- Bam Adebayo logged the game's only double-double with 21 points and 10 rebounds.
- The Celtics led by as many as 17 points during the second half.
Quote of the Night
Just win the next one. Take it one game at a time.
Jayson Tatum on his Celtics facing a 2-0 deficit.