Marcus Smart sat on the bench for the first game of the Eastern Conference finals and didn’t let Boston suffer the Game 2 against Miami Heat with his all-round effort.
Smart, who recovered from an injury that kept him out of Game 1, was instrumental in the Boston win, as he came close to a triple-double with 24 points, 12 assists, and nine rebounds, while also controlling defence. The NBA Defensive Player of the Year didn’t appear to be hampered in the least, as he was his normal fussy form on defence while putting up 20 points and 10 assists for the third time this season in a postseason game.
Jayson Tatum had 27 points, Jaylen Brown had 24 points and eight rebounds, and Grant Williams had 19 points for Boston.
With 29 points, Jimmy Butler topped the Miami Heat. Gabe Vincent and Victor Oladipo both had 14 points, while Tyler Herro added 11. After missing Game 1, Al Horford (COVID-19 protocol) came for the Celtics and scored 10 points on 4-of-4 hitting. Horford had completed the protocol many hours before the game.
Game 3 will take place in Boston on Saturday night. The Celtics were beaten 39-14 in the third quarter of Game 1 to lose 118-107 after leading by eight points in the second half. The scenario in Game 2 was quite different and was much in favor of Boston. Boston led by 25 points in the second half and held the Heat scoreless in the third quarter (26 points apiece) to take a 96-71 edge into the fourth.
With 9:55 left in the game, Smart hit a 3-pointer to extend the Celtics’ lead to 103-73. The biggest lead Boston had was 34 points. Boston made a quick turnaround in Round 2 to recover their previous loss and head into the Game 3 with the same momentum and confidence.
P.J Tucker had to left Miami during the third quarter in Game 2 due to a left knee contusion. Furthermore, Miami also missed their crucial player Kyle Lowry who hasn’t appeared for the eighth time in the last ten games.