Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Finals between the Miami Heat and the Boston Celtics was very different to the first three. In each of the first three games, the Celtics, at some point, led by double digits of the back of some red-hot shooting in the first half.
In Game 4, the C's biggest lead was just two points as they were playing much of the game from behind.
"I think, we came out a little bit flat and it wasn't enough," Celtics swingman Jaylen Brown said postgame. "We needed a win tonight. We wanted to get a win tonight but we didn't."
At half-time, Boston trailed Miami 50-44 with their largest deficit being eight points. This came while their All-Star forward Jayson Tatum hadn't scored a single point.
In the second half, the Celtics rallied behind his 16-point third quarter to make a comeback that gave them the lead early in the fourth quarter and brought them to within two points (109-107) with just 9.2 seconds remaining in regulation.
👀 Tatum scores ALL 16 of his points in the 3rd to cut the @celtics deficit to 1 entering Q4 on ESPN! #NBAPlayoffs pic.twitter.com/MAQk4DYwd7- NBA (@NBA) September 24, 2020
"I wasn't aggressive enough," Tatum said postgame. "I didn't score in the first half. That's unacceptable."
"No. I don't," the 6'9" forward said when asked about the reason for Boston's 'flat' start. "I wish I did."
With the 112-109 Game 4 loss, the third-seeded Celtics are 3-1 down to the fifth-seeded Miami Heat. Can Boston rally and make the improbable comeback, one that the Denver Nuggets have been able to pull off twice in the 2020 postseason?
"We have to do it [the comeback]," Celtics All-Star Kemba Walker said postgame. "It's about pride. We can do it."
Walker wasn't sure either about why the team came out flat. "I can't explain why," he said. "It's really hard to hear that we came out flat. We just have to be better. Simple as that."
If the C's do make the comeback, they would become the first franchise in NBA history to have three 3-1 series comebacks to their name. But for that, Boston needs to win three straight and it all starts in Game 5.
"We're just looking at how we can play better Friday night," Celtics head coach Brad Steven said. "That's the most important game of the season, and we have to play our best game yet."
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