Things were not going great for the Boston Celtics early on in Game 2 of their Eastern Conference Finals series against the Boston Celtics Thursday night.
Boston found itself down 18-8 early in the first quarter in South Beach before absolutely dominating the Heat. In the end, the Celtics came out on top by the score of 127-102 to even the conference finals at one.
Led by Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum, the Celtics went on a 39-10 run spanning 9:30 minutes in the first half to take a 70-45 halftime lead.
Things didn’t get much better for the Miami Heat from there. Outside of Jimmy Butler, no one did anything of substance for the home team. The second-leading scorers were Gabe Vincent and Victor Oladipo with a mere 14 points each.
Below, we take a look at the four biggest winners and losers from the Boston Celtics 25-point win over Miami heading into Game 3 on Saturday.
Winner: Marcus Smart returns in glory for the Boston Celtics
After missing Game 1 with a foot injury, the reigning NBA Defensive Player of the Year was back up to his old tricks inside FTX Arena. Smart was one rebound shy of recording a triple-double before being pulled midway through the fourth quarter. Boston finished plus-31 in his 40 minutes of action, too.
- Marcus Smart stats (Game 2): 24 points, 9 rebounds, 12 assists, 3 steals, 8-of-22 shooting
After missing on his first 10 shots, Smart finished up the came by connecting on 8-of-12. He also played splendid defense against Heat guards. Miami’s backcourt grouping shot a combined 15-of-43 with nine turnovers.
Loser: Bam Adebayo comes up small for the Miami Heat
Miami’s star center entered Game 2 averaging a mere 14.3 points and 7.4 rebounds though 12 playoff games. Those numbers were down considerably from the regular season. While this didn’t impact Miami in the first two rounds, it came into play Thursday night at home.
Adebayo scored all of six points in 29 minutes of action. He was vastly outplayed by Boston’s duo of centers in that of Robert Williams and Al Horford. Simply put, the Miami Heat are going to need more from Bam moving forward.
Winner: Grant Williams and Payton Pritchard headline great performance from Boston Celtics bench
There was some concern over Boston’s depth heading ino the Eastern Conference Finals. That was especially true given the injury concerns surrounding Marcus Smart and Robert Williams. Heading into Game 2, the Celtics also knew that they were going to be without Derrick White due to the birth of his child.
Both Williams and Pritchard more than answered the call in extended action. Continuing what has been a solid postseason performance, Williams connected on 5-of-7 shots — including both of his three-point attempts. As for Pritchard, he hit on 4-of-8 shots in 23 minutes. Boston was a combined plus-76 with the two on the court. That’s just insane.
Loser: Tyler Herro was a complete disaster for the Miami Heat
Herro was coming off a Game 1 outing that saw him score 18 points. Despite this, the guard’s issues shooting the ball from the perimeter had continued. The NBA Sixth Man of the Year was shooting 27% from three-point range in the playoffs heading into Game 2.
Herro ended up missing all three of his shots from distance Thursday evening. He also turned the ball over two times with just one rebound and three assists. All of this led to the Miami Heat finding themselves minus-33 in the 24 minutes that Herro played. The wing just has not been his normal self in the playoffs. Game 2 magnified that to a T.