NBA Conference Finals

Jayson Tatum, Celtics bury Heat early, level East finals series 2-2

Jayson Tatum, Celtics bury Heat early, level East finals series 2-2

CELTIC CRUSHER. Jayson Tatum leads Boston's Game 4 beatdown of Miami

Paul Rutherford/Reuters

Jayson Tatum and the Boston Celtics lead by as many as 32 points in their Eastern Conference Finals Game 4 beatdown of the first-seeded Miami Heat

Jayson Tatum recorded 31 points, 8 rebounds, and 5 assists as the Boston Celtics dominated from the outset for a 102-82 victory over the visiting Miami Heat on Monday night, May 23 (Tuesday, May 24, Manila time) to tie the Eastern Conference finals at two games apiece.

Payton Pritchard scored 14 points while Derrick White excelled with 13 points, 8 rebounds, 6 assists, and 3 steals for Boston while starting in place of injured point guard Marcus Smart.

Robert Williams III added 12 points and 9 rebounds, and Jaylen Brown had 12 points and 7 rebounds for the Celtics. Al Horford contributed 5 points, 13 rebounds, and 4 blocked shots

Three reserves reached double digits for Miami. Victor Oladipo scored 23 points, Duncan Robinson tallied 14 and Caleb Martin added 12 for the Heat, who missed their first 14 shots while digging a 1-18 deficit.

Miami star Jimmy Butler had just 6 points on 3-of-14 shooting, and struggled during 27 minutes of action. Butler departed after the first half of Game 3 on Saturday, May 21 (Sunday, May 22, Manila time) due to right knee inflammation.

Bam Adebayo scored just 9 points for the Heat after putting up 31 in Game 3.

Game 5 of the best-of-seven series is Wednesday night, May 25 (Thursday, May 26, Manila time) in Miami.

Smart, who sprained his right ankle in Game 3, was ruled out approximately 70 minutes before tipoff.

The Heat shot 33.3% from the field and their starters scored just 18 points on combined 7-of-36 shooting (19.4%). Miami, which played without reserve Tyler Herro (groin injury), made 14-of-36 attempts from three-point range.

Boston connected on 39.7% of its shots and was 8-of-34 from behind the arc. The Celtics owned a 60-39 rebounding edge.

Boston came out strong and led by 17 before Miami made its first field goal. White scored the game’s first 7 points and Tatum contributed 9 during the burst.

The Heat finally converted on shot No. 15 when Oladipo buried a 3-pointer with 3:22 left in the period.

Miami finished the quarter with 3-of-20 shooting and trailed, 11-29.

The Celtics continued to dominate in the second quarter and increased the gap to 50-23 on two free throws by Williams with 3:55 left. Boston led, 57-33 at the break behind 24 points from Tatum, who tallied just 10 on 3-of-14 shooting in Game 3.

The Celtics increased the lead to 32 when Horford made two free throws to make it 69-37 with 7:26 left in the third quarter. Boston led 76-52 entering the final stanza and remained comfortably ahead throughout the period. –

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