Celtics ‘Wake Up’ and Win Game 2 of ECF 127-102

Celtics 'Wake Up' and Win Game 2 of ECF 127-102

The Boston Celtics started Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Finals in a 10-point hole. The lackluster effort in the opening minutes demanded that Coach Ime Udoka respond and send a simple message to the No. 2 seed Celtics.

“Wake up,” Udoka told his team.

And boy, did they wake up. The Celtics tied the series up at 1-1 with a 127-102 win in FTX Arena, stealing home-court advantage as the series shifts to Boston for Games 3 and 4. Jayson Tatum (27 points, five rebounds, and five assists) and Jaylen Brown (24 points and eight rebounds,)rebounded from their disastrous Game 1 performances and combined to score 51 points.

The return of Marcus Smart (24 points, nine rebounds, 14 dimes) and Al Horford (10 points, three rebounds, three assists) also helped Boston roll past Miami on Thursday. Boston knocked down 20 three-pointers also, with Smart hitting 5-12 and Tatum and Brown combining to hit eight triples.

“I got to get my rest, got to get my health back, got to watch and see some things and come out and execute in this game,” Smart said.

The Celtics used a 17-0 run late in the first quarter, fueled by five triples in six possessions, to take control of Game 2. The momentum-shifting run helped Boston outscore Miami 60-21 over the next 18 minutes, which turned into a 70-45 halftime lead. Brown led the surge with 11 points in the opening frame, Boston shot 9-11 from beyond the arc in the first quarter, and Tatum added fuel to the fire by scoring 17 points in the second quarter.

The 25-point halftime lead was the largest lead the Celtics have had in a road playoff game, topping the previous record of 22 against the Chicago Bulls in 2009. Miami cut the deficit to 17 off Jimmy Butler’s 16 points in the third quarter, but Boston went on a 12-2 run to close the door on any comeback bid. By the time the final frame began, Boston was 96-71.

“Guys have pride and looked at a golden opportunity that we kind of lost (in Game 1) and thought we could do much better,” Udoka said. “And we did that tonight.”

The Celtics are 4-0 following a loss this postseason. The ECF shifts to Boston on Saturday with both Eastern Conference foes looking to leave Game 3 with a 2-1 lead.

Leave a Reply