Heat, Celtics now best-of-three to determine Eastern title


Miami (AP) — Back. from now on. back. from now on.

The Miami Heat wants that pattern to continue. Boston Celtics hope to break this trend. And the winning team on Wednesday night is one game away from the NBA Finals.

The Eastern Conference Finals were just a series of mood swings set to resume in Game 5 in Miami on Wednesday. The top seed, Heat, and second-placed Celtics, faced each other tightly by two games each. The Heat had to play Game 1 in the second half, Boston scored in the first half to win Game 2, Miami counterattacked in Game 3 and the Celtics played in Game 4.

Boston manager Ime Udoka said on Tuesday: “It’s not surprising. “Give a chance to two teams that always fight and never beat themselves. I’ve known Miami (hit coach Erik Spoelstra) and that’s the epitome of toughness. Both teams have matched the energy that comes from defeat and now it is our turn to better respond to victory.”

The Celtics didn’t have defender of the year Marcus Smart, but this time they suffered a sprained ankle, but there was no doubt about it in Game 4. .

The Miami starting pitcher scored 18 points in Game 4 combined. Yes, combined, that’s the lowest of five starting points in a playoff game in at least 40 years. Heat didn’t have Tyler Herro because of a groin problem, and Jimmy Butler didn’t look right after missing half of Game 3 with knee pain (which he claimed), and Kyle Lowry, Max Strus and PJ Tucker combined for a 17-at-1 record. .

ugly. But Spoelstra somehow still sees the beauty of how the series went.

There has been no lead change since the first quarter of Game 2. Boston took the lead in the game and never let it go. Miami took a huge early lead in Game 3 and held it late but never completely gave up the lead and the Celtics strangled Game 4 from the start.

“What you’re seeing is a great series,” Spoelstra said. “It’s 2-2. It has to be embraced and united, and I hope this competition brings out the absolute best of all of us.”

The fifth game in the tie series is always a swing game. If the series ends 2-2, the winner of Game 5 of a best-of-seven series will ultimately win with an 82% chance.

“It’s like a new series,” said Boston’s Jason Tatum. “Best of 3”

feel dirty

Boston caught 40 more free throws than Miami in Game 3 and Game 4. The difference was only 24 in game 4. The problem is aggression (or lack of aggression), Butler said. “I think we should be a stronger team, playing from the inside out, not avoiding contact,” Butler said. “Every time we do that and don’t shoot a lot of jumpers, we can get a little foul.”

quarter score

The Celtics have lost two games in the third quarter of this series. Of the 16 quarters of this matchup so far, the Celtics have won 9 and are tied for the remaining 4 quarters. The second quarter that hit Boston the hardest was obvious. The 3rd quarter of Game 1 (Miami won 39-14 to overturn the game) and the 1st quarter of Game 3 (Miami won 39-18 to create a winning atmosphere). . Another quarter that Heat won was meaningless. Miami overtook Boston 30-26 in Game 4 of Game 4.

2-2 History

The Heat has a 9-6 record in a best-of-seven series that is tied for the first time in four games, including this season when they defeated Philadelphia in the Eastern Semifinals. The Celtics lost Game 5 to Milwaukee in the Eastern Semifinals, but after winning the last two games of the series they went 34-13 in a best-of-seven game, 2-2 in Game 5 and 1-0 this season too.

strange words

Boston have a 1.5-point lead in Game 5 as of Tuesday, according to FanDuel Sportsbook. Of course, this is subject to change depending on news of injury and other variables. Miami are 4-1 at home this season and have an advantage in 35 of their 36 home matches played on Wednesday.

injury

Heat awaits if Herro can play in Game 5 and is dealing with Butler (knee), Lowry (hamstring), Tucker (ankle), Strus (hamstring) and Gabe Vincent (hamstring). recent games. Smart is still working to relieve the pain in his sprained ankle, and Celtics center Robert Williams III, who has been slowed in the series due to continued recovery from knee surgery, said he got out of Game 4 without major problems.

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