NBA playoffs

Celtics rally past Heat to prevent East finals sweep


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Celtics rally past Heat to prevent East finals sweep

STILL FIGHTING. Celtics forward Jayson Tatum controls the ball against Heat guard Max Strus in Game 4.

Sam Navarro/USA TODAY Sports/Reuters

Jayson Tatum drops a double-double to help the Celtics stay alive against the history-seeking Heat

Jayson Tatum collected 33 points and 11 rebounds as the visiting Boston Celtics staved off elimination with a 116-99 victory over the Miami Heat in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference finals on Tuesday, May 23 (Wednesday, May 24, Manila time).

Tatum made 14-of-22 shots from the floor – including 4-of-8 from three-point range. He also had 7 assists for the second-seeded Celtics, who trail 3-1 in the best-of-seven series heading into Thursday’s Game 5 in Boston.

The East winner will advance to the the NBA championship series against the Denver Nuggets, who swept the Los Angeles Lakers in the Western Conference finals. 

Jaylen Brown scored 17 points and Derrick White added 16 to help the Celtics prevent Miami from becoming the second eighth-seeded team to advance to the NBA Finals. The 1998-1999 New York Knicks accomplished the feat during a lockout-shortened season.

Grant Williams scored 14 points off the bench and Al Horford added 12 points and 7 rebounds for the Celtics, who turned the tide by outscoring the Heat 38-23 in the third quarter.

Boston shot 51.2% from the floor (43-of-84) for the game and 40.9% from three-point range (18-of-44).

Miami’s Jimmy Butler overcame a slow start to record 29 points and 9 rebounds. Gabe Vincent scored 17 points and Caleb Martin added 16 off the bench for the Heat, who fell to 6-1 at home in the playoffs.

Down by 11 points late in the third quarter, Miami trimmed the deficit to five before Boston countered by scoring 12 straight points to secure a 100-83 lead with 7:25 to play in the fourth. Tatum and Marcus Smart each had five points during that surge.

The Heat moved within 13 with 4:27 to play before Brown converted a three-point play to halt the momentum. The Celtics were not seriously threatened the rest of the way.

Max Strus sank a triple to stake Miami to a 61-52 lead early in the third quarter before Boston ignited an 18-0 run. Tatum converted twice from beyond the arc and added a jumper during that sequence.

The Heat pulled within 81-77 before Tatum made a jumper and a layup and Williams sank his fourth three-pointer of the night. –

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