Rapid Recap: Relentless Tatum, game-winning FastPP lead Celtics to narrowly defeat Heat

NBA: Boston Celtics at Miami Heat
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On yet another night when it felt incredibly bizarre to be writing about sports, the Celtics and Heat faced off for the first time since the Eastern Conference Finals. It wasn’t exactly a pretty one: After a mostly dominant first half, Miami broke through on drives for free throws and some serious defensive miscalculation by Boston. It took a last-minute offensive barrage by the Jays and Payton Pritchard’s improbable putback to win this one, but the Cs did, 107-105.

Jayson Tatum outdueled Jimmy Butler by a point to lead all scorers with 27 (alongside 5 rebounds, 4 dimes and a steal). Jaylen Brown didn’t shoot well at all by his standards but still racked up 21-12-5-2-2. Beyond that, scoring was pretty well-distributed across the team. Other more modest but well-rounded stat lines included Robert Williams’ 8-4-0-1-1 (in just 13 minutes), Grant Williams’ 5-6-1-2-1 and FastPP of all people racking up 4 offensive boards (alongside 6 points and 4 dimes).

Just saying. Anyway: The ECF specter loomed…

The expected offensive aggression of Jayson and Jaylen, coupled with a Heat team that looked discombobulated on both ends, brought the Cs to a double-digit lead in the game’s first 7 minutes. (If not for free throws, Miami would only have 7 points in that span.)

Wasn’t all perfect, of course; Miami’s too good an opponent for that.

Obligatory FastPP highlight:

For all my kvetching about Semi in a recent RATIONAL THOUGHTS post, he was in his bag tonight during Q2:

Almost everything went the Cs way in much of the second frame while almost nothing (except trips to the free-throw line) worked for the Heat.

Well, until things reversed in the frame’s final minutes, when Boston could hardly buy a shot and Butler grifted free throw upon free throw out of overzealous Cs defenders.

Wait a minute…

Yeah, I’ve seen this movie before. Kinda tired of it, TBH.

Unsurprisingly, Celtics Twitter was blaming the twin-towers setup:


The team regrouped and fought back to tie it up 80-80 at the end of Q3. And a couple of fan favorites played a big role:

Not to mention Tatum’s relentlessness. Unfortunately, while he can do a lot by himself, he can’t do everything. Miami’s ability to drive at will was, once again, confounding Boston in a second half. Somehow, Carsen Edwards was on the floor:

(He didn’t look atrocious or anything, but it would in no way be accurate to say he was good.)

At least it wasn’t the goddamn zone again. Not sure I could take more Zone Discourse.

After all that, it was Pritchard who saved the day at the last minute:

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