Boston Celtics were cruising at halftime when the volcano’s in Miami erupted, landing their fireballs everywhere. Boston Celtics head coach, Ime Udoka witnessed the destruction firsthand as Miami Heat went berserk in the 3rd quarter, took a 17-point lead and never looked back as they outfoxed the Celtics 118-109, at the FTX Arena. Miami take a crucial 1-0 lead over 2nd seed Boston, as they continue their campaign in search of a Second Conference Championship in 2 years. The former NBA player, Udoka believes that they collapsed because their star players Jayson tatum and Jaylen Brown let them down post-halftime.
Tatum had 21 points in the first half, but finished the game with 29 points while Jaylen Brown added 24 points. Boston missed Marcus Smart and ‘Big Al’ on both ends of the floor, and while Horford could miss Game 2 in the league’s protocols, there’s optimism Smart could return for Game 2 after suffering a right foot sprain.
“Jayson and Jaylen who let it get away from us” – Ime Udoka
The Celtics recieved a severe blow even before the start of the game as two of their starters, Al Horford and Marcus Smart, were ruled out of the opening clash against the Miami Heat. This led to Celtics starting Payton Pritchard and Aaron Nesmith for extended minutes in the absence of their regular starters, a possible factor contributing to the Celtics’ defeat. Boston had a comfortable 13-point lead in the first half and took a 62-54 lead into halftime. A 22-2 scoring spree run was how Miami blitzed past the Celtics in the second half, the run punctuated by steals that led to baskets on three consecutive possessions.
”It wasn’t anything different that they did,” Udoka said. ”They just came out and imposed their will.”
“Having Marcus and Al might have helped, because they settle us down, but it wasn’t really just that. And it wasn’t our young guys, Payton and Aaron, but it was our veterans Jayson and Jaylen who let it get away from us.” The Boston strategist blamed the loss on theri pivotal players Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown. Tatum had 21 points in the 1st half but was a caged bird on the 2nd half as PJ Tucker put the chains on him, which led to Tatum scoring only 8 points in the last half.
Jaylen Brown, meanwhile had a strong finish to the game as he scored 15 of his 24 points in the 4th quarter, however he had only 9 points through the first three periods. Tatum and Brown combined committed 8 turnovers in the 3rd quarter, with Tatum alone contributing 6 turnovers in the first 12 minutes after the half. Miami had Boston’s number on the back of their hands as they locked them out, impairing their field goal capabilities. Ime Udoka will certainly be seething about the loss, as he expects more from Young Guns. Boston will look to bounce back and fight the heat with ice in their veins in Game 2.