Rapid Recap: Despite impressive comeback attempt, Celtics drop first game of Heat miniseries

NBA: Miami Heat at Boston Celtics

The Celtics lost a slow, clunky and physical game to the Heat, 130-124, playing an embarrassing first half and a strong second one.

Boston went down big early, 36-23 at the end of 12 minutes. Their defense leaked everywhere—perimeter, paint and in transition—while Miami kept all Cs players except Aaron Nesmith tightly locked down. The second quarter was no better: Celtics offense woke up somewhat, due to Jayson Tatum and especially Marcus Smart, but not enough to endanger the Heat lead by any means. As for the defense, well…the first half ended 79-53, so…yeah.

Q3 began well for Boston, all things considered. Robust defense kept the Heat from scoring a field goal for almost 3 minutes and not long after that baited them into the bonus. The Cs used it to their advantage as much as possible. But they couldn’t maintain defensive intensity, and thus only got the deficit out of the 20s and into the mid/low teens…for a while. The third frame ended with the Heat up 105-84.

In the final quarter, Boston again started strong, Miami was missing shots and screwing up, and things actually looked hopeful. The deficit went down to single digits with 5:13 left as Evan Fournier continued his hot streak and Kemba Walker, having been quiet earlier in the contest, got loud. But while it went down to the wire through a combination of dumb luck and playing the foul game, all of the first-half screwups weighed too heavily on the Cs for them to complete the comeback.

Emotional day for fans and former Celtics:

It didn’t start out looking so bad. Seriously.



This was cool, at least:





It’s good that Fournier shot as well as he did, but if they’d driven more, Q3 might’ve been better. This Nesmith dunk is more what they should’ve been doing:

The start of Q4 gave fans some hope:


Riffsman with a good summary:


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