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Boston Celtics Game 4 performance sets stage for potentially historic comeback

The Boston Celtics found themselves down 3-0 in the Eastern Conference Finals heading into Tuesday’s road date with the Miami Heat.

Boston’s heartless performance in Game 3 seemed to set the stage for what would be a clean sweep of the defending conference champs.

For a while in South Beach Tuesday evening, things were looking pretty much the same. Miami held a six-point lead at the half with both Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown struggling for the Celtics. Meanwhile, secondary options such as Gabe Vincent and Caleb Martin were leading the Heat in scoring.

That’s when the Boston Celtics finally started to get it together for pretty much the first time in the conference finals.

Jayson Tatum found his stroke in the third quarter, including becoming the Celtics’ all-time leading three-point shooter in the playoffs.

Boston outscored Miami by a margin of 38-23 in the third quarter with Tatum himself leading the charge. He tallied 14 points in that 12-minute span, spearheading what was at one point a 16-0 run.

A lot was made of Celtics head coach Joe Mazzulla’s performance during what was a blowout 26-point loss in Game 3. The first-year head man admitted such, saying “I just didn’t have them ready to play.”

At least for one half of basketball, that changed. The Celtics would put this away with pretty much half the fourth quarter remaining, ultimately winning by the score of 116-99.

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Boston Celtics win one game, extend series against Miami Heat

NBA: Boston Celtics at Miami Heat
Sam Navarro-USA TODAY Sports

Teams are now 0-150 when down 0-3 in a seven-game NBA Playoff series after the Los Angeles Lakers were swept out of the Western Conference Finals by the Denver Nuggets Monday night.

It remains highly unlikely that Boston will be able to ovecome this 3-0 deficit against the Miami Heat. But it’s all about winning one game at a time. Celtics stars made that clear ahead of Game 4.

“Don’t let us get one,” Marcus Smart said. Jaylen Brown echoed that sentiment by saying, “Don’t let us win tonight.”

Mazzulla made sure that this was the Celtics’ mantra, too.

“I have the utmost confidence that we’ll compete, that we’ll play together, that we’ll be connected,” Mazzulla told reporters ahead of Tuesday night’s game.

That’s what we saw from the Celtics. It was a collective effort to send this back to Boston for Game 5 Thursday night.

Tatum returned to form, scoring 34 points on 14-of-22 shooting. Derrick White and Jaylen Brown each added 16 as every Celtics starter went for double digits. It resulted in Boston shooting 51% from the field while hitting on 19-of-45 from distance.

As for the Miami Heat, it’s back to the drawing board. The last thing they want is for this to extend beyond five games. That would put even more ideas into the minds of the Celtics moving forward.

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