Ya know how basketball coaches around the country preach to their young players to practice their free throws? Game 4 was a great example of why. The charity stripe is where Miami sealed its critical win.
It all started after the Celtics canned two 3-pointers and a conventional three-point play – all within 33 seconds of game action – to give themselves a puncher’s chance at a miraculous win down the stretch. The C’s had trailed 107-98 following Tyler Herro’s cutting layup with 56.2 seconds left, but cut that deficit down to 109-107 with 9.2 seconds left following their flurry of three-point plays, which were sandwiched around two free throws from Herro.
All the Heat needed to do the rest of the way was not turn the ball over and make a few free throws, ad they did exactly that.
Following Boston’s final three-point play, Jimmy Butler was fouled and sent to the line with 6.0 seconds left for two free throws. He calmly made them both to make it a two-possession game, at 111-107. Boston went on to score a layup with 1.8 seconds left after it used its final timeout, but Butler went back to the line with 1.1 seconds left with a chance to seal the game.
Butler missed the first attempt and made the second to preserve, as the very least, an overtime session. The C’s then needed to convert a full-court inbound play that would have led to a 3-pointer, all in 1.1 seconds, to force overtime. They failed to do so, and didn’t even get a shot off on the play.
Those three free throws during the final 6.0 seconds from Butler, combined with the two prior freebies from Herro with 13.9 seconds left, helped Miami avoid a complete meltdown. They are how the Heat closed out Game 4 to take a commanding 3-1 series lead.
Jayson Tatum responded like a true superstar after putting up an 0’fer during the first half – 0-for-6 from the field for zero points.
Tatum caught fire during the second half, scoring 28 points on 10-for-16 shooting from the field. He connected on six of his eight shots during the third quarter for 16 points, and then shot 4-for-8 from the field during the fourth quarter for another 12 points.
Tatum’s 28 points led the Celtics, and he tied Jaylen Brown and Daniel Theis for the team high in rebounds with nine. He also led the game with three blocks, which was one more than Miami’s entire team totaled. Tatum rounded out his box score with four assists and a steal during 39-plus minutes of action.
Box Score Nuggets
- Tyler Herro's 37 points were the second-most by a player 20 years or younger in NBA playoff history.
- Miami's largest lead was 12, while Boston's was two.
- Jayson Tatum led the Celtics with 28 points - all of which were scored during the second half.
- Both teams made 39 field goals.
- The Celtics outshot Miami from the field (47.6 percent to 42.9 percent) and from 3-point range (35.0 percent to 27.0 percent) yet still lost.
- Miami made three more free throws (24) than Boston attempted (21).
- Jaylen Brown scored 21 points for Boston, and Kemba Walker added in 20.
- Tatum, Brown and Daniel Theis tied for the team high with nine rebounds apiece.
- Tatum's three blocks were one more than Miami's team total of two.
- Four Heat players scored at least 20 points - Herro (27), Jimmy Butler (24), Goran Dragic (22) and Bam Adebayo (20).
- Boston committed 19 team turnovers, compared to just eight from Miami.
- Marcus Smart totaled a game-high 11 assists - more than double the next-highest total in the game (five, by Walker)
Quote of the Night
We don't have to win three games Friday. We have to win one.
Brad Stevens on his team's mindset