National Basketball Association
Boston 127, Miami 102
When: 8:30 PM ET, Thursday, May 19, 2022
Where: FTX Arena, Miami, Florida
#16 David Guthrie, #55 Bill Kennedy, #30 John Goble
Marcus Smart watched the opening game of the Eastern Conference finals from the bench and didn't like what he witnessed.
Smart liked his view much better on Thursday, when he electrified Boston with a superb all-around effort as the Celtics rolled to a 127-102 victory over the host Miami Heat, evening the series at one win apiece.
Smart returned from a one-game absence caused by a right foot injury and contributed 24 points, 12 assists, nine rebounds and three steals in 40 minutes. Smart also made five 3-pointers to help the Celtics avenge their Game 1 setback.
The NBA Defensive Player of the Year didn't look the least bit hampered as he was his usual pesky self on defense while accumulating at least 20 points and 10 assists in a postseason game for the third time in his career.
"I was pumped. I felt bad that I couldn't be out there with my teammates and go to battle with them," Smart said of his absence. "We're playing against a really good Miami Heat team. I got to get my rest, I got my health back, I got to watch and see some things and come out to execute this game."
Smart also received top-notch help as Jayson Tatum scored 27 points, Jaylen Brown registered 24 points and eight rebounds and Grant Williams added 19 points for Boston.
Jimmy Butler led the Heat with 29 points. Gabe Vincent and Victor Oladipo added 14 points apiece while Tyler Herro scored 11 for Miami.
Smart helped hound Butler, who scored 41 points in Game 1.
"My assignment was to make everything tough for him," Smart said. "We knew he would hit some shots. If he did, he was going to have to work for them.
"We all know Jimmy is a great player. Jimmy has been doing this for a long time. He knows what it takes and he has that heart. It took a full team effort. I started on him but everybody got a shot."
Game 3 is Saturday night at Boston.
The Celtics were outscored 39-14 in the third quarter of Game 1 as an eight-point halftime lead turned into a 118-107 loss. They had no such troubles this time.
Boston led by 25 points at halftime and played the Heat to a standstill (26 points apiece) in the third quarter to take a 96-71 lead into the fourth quarter.
Smart buried a 3-pointer to push the lead to 103-73 with 9:55 left as the Celtics continued to roll. Boston's biggest lead was 34 points.
"This has to hurt," Butler said of the margin of defeat. "They tried to embarrass us, they did embarrass us. We have to realize that.
"It can't get too much worse. They whipped our tails on our home floor."
Al Horford (COVID-19 protocol) also returned for the Celtics after missing Game 1 and had 10 points on 4-of-4 shooting. Horford cleared the protocol hours before tipoff.
Miami lost P.J. Tucker to a left knee contusion in the third quarter. He had five points and four rebounds in 22 minutes before exiting.
The Heat were also without Kyle Lowry (left hamstring) for the eighth time in the past 10 games.
The Celtics shot 51.2 percent from the field, including 50 percent (20 of 40) from 3-point range. Tatum and Brown each made four 3-pointers.
Miami connected on 44.2 percent of its shots and was 10 of 34 (29.4 percent) from behind the arc.
Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said his team can't let the crushing loss linger.
"This only counts as one (defeat)," Spoelstra said. "That's what experienced players and staff in the locker room understand. We don't like it. They played extremely well."
Boston made 12 of 19 3-point attempts (63.2 percent) in the first half while building a 70-45 halftime lead. The Celtics led by as many as 29 before the break.
Boston's onslaught occurred after it fell behind by 10 just 4 1/2 minutes into the game.
Brown drained a 3-pointer with 3:44 left in the first period to start a string of 17 straight points as the Celtics eventually took a 32-21 lead. Boston led 35-24 at the end of the quarter.
Williams' layup made it 68-39 with 1:16 remaining in the second quarter before Boston settled for the 25-point halftime cushion.
--Field Level Media
Top Game Performances
Jayson Tatum 27
Jimmy Butler 29
Marcus Smart 12
Jimmy Butler 3
Marcus Smart 9
Bam Adebayo 9
Jayson Tatum 7
||Free Throws Made
Victor Oladipo 9
Marcus Smart 3
Jimmy Butler 1
Robert Williams III 3
Tyler Herro 1
Team Stats Summary
Miami will play their next game on the road against Boston. The Heat have a W/L % of .648 after a win and .643 after a loss.
Boston will play their next game at home against Miami. The Celtics have a W/L % of .620 after a win and .625 after a loss.