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Apr 23, 2024 2:28 pm

Heat aim to keep Jayson Tatum, Celtics in check in Game 2

Jayson Tatum

The visiting Miami Heat will attempt to pull even in their Eastern Conference first-round series against the Boston Celtics when the teams play Game 2 on Wednesday night.

Jayson Tatum collected 23 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists to lead the top-seeded Celtics to a 114-94 victory in Game 1 on Sunday. Tatum was one of six Boston players who scored in double figures.

“Just making the right play,” Tatum said after Sunday’s game. “We talk all the time about not getting bored with making the right play. … We’ve played (the Heat) enough. They’re not a team that’s necessarily going to let you play one-on-one all night.”

Miami’s success Wednesday may be determined by how well it can defend the 3-point line. Boston made 22 of its 49 attempts from beyond the arc in Game 1. Kristaps Porzingis, Derrick White and Sam Hauser each made four 3-pointers. Hauser came off the bench and did his damage in 12 minutes of playing time.

“You’re going to need things like that to be successful in the playoffs,” Tatum said. “It’s not always going to be the guys who start the game. On any given night we’re going to count on somebody off the bench to change the pace of the game.”

The Celtics outscored the Heat 31-14 in the third quarter and led 91-59 entering the fourth. Boston’s lead swelled to 34 points before eighth-seeded Miami got as close as 14 in the final minutes.

“You have to give (the Celtics) credit,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. “They won the big-muscle areas. Definitely won the 3-point line and the majority of the areas in between, including defensively. They were up and into us, getting us out of our normal flow, rhythm. So we have to do a much better job by Wednesday.”

Bam Adebayo scored 24 points and Delon Wright added 17 for Miami, which was without Jimmy Butler for the second straight game because of a right knee injury he sustained during the play-in round. Terry Rozier also remained out with a neck injury.

Boston’s Jrue Holiday was among those who did a good job defending Tyler Herro, who shot 4 of 13 from the field and was held to 11 points in 34 minutes. Herro and Butler each averaged a team-high 20.8 points per game during the regular season.

“They came out with the intention to put a lot of pressure on (Herro),” Spoelstra said. “Whether it’s on the ball with pick and rolls or off the ball with movement, we have to find some ways to shake him free and get him to his strength spaces within the context of what we do.”

Sunday’s win improved Boston’s record against Miami to 4-0 this season. The Celtics have won 38 of 42 home games during the season and playoffs.

“There’s some things that we have to do better, but that’s the balance, right?” Boston coach Joe Mazzulla said. “Understanding that we played relatively well, but we have to be better because we know they’re going to play better.”

–Field Level Media

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