Celtics-Heat takeaways: Tatum, C's defense deliver in Game 4 rout originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston
The roller coaster that is the Celtics' 2022 postseason is back on the upswing.
After dropping a wild Game 3 at home on Saturday, the Celtics bounced back with a resounding 102-82 victory over the Miami Heat on Monday night in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Finals at TD Garden.
Jayson Tatum led the charge with a game-high 31 points, nearly doubling the output of Miami's starters, who scored just 18 points combined. Derrick White chipped in 13 points in place of the injured Marcus Smart to help the Celtics tie the best-of-seven series at 2-2.
The C's are now a perfect 5-0 following losses this postseason and will look to take a 3-2 series lead Wednesday night when the series shifts back to Miami for Game 5.
Here are our takeaways from Boston's statement Game 4 win:
U.S. & World
Jayson Tatum's aggressive mindset pays off
Tatum's best games this postseason have come after losses -- and Monday night was no exception.
The Celtics star bounced back from his brutal Game 3 to deliver an excellent all-around performance (31 points, eight rebounds, five assists, two blocks). He attacked the rim all night, scoring 24 of this 31 points either in the paint (10 points) or at the free throw line (14 points.
His 16 free throw attempts were his most in a game since March 6.
Tatum also thrived as a playmaker with five assists, his best coming on an incredible cross-court pass to Grant Williams.
Tatum is now averaging 32.6 points on 51.4 percent shooting following losses in this postseason.
While the Celtics would prefer more consistency from their star player, he's shown a very impressive ability to respond to poor efforts with clutch performances.
Heat offense goes ice-cold
Miami made history in several ways Monday night -- and none of them good.
After scoring 39 points in the first quarter of Game 1, the Heat scored one point in the first eight minutes of Game 4. That's right: one.
They missed their first 14 shots and didn't make their first field goal until a Victor Oladipo 3-pointer at the 3:22 mark of the first quarter, enduring the longest drought to start a postseason game in 25 years.
Things didn't get any better, as Miami's starters shot just 7 of 36 combined to finish with 18 points.
The Celtics deserve a lot of credit for swarming Miami from the jump, and the duo of Robert Williams and Al Horford (six blocks combined) played excellent defense on Bam Adebayo to neutralize the Heat big man after his breakout Game 3.
Miami simply had no offensive answers with Tyler Herro sidelined, though, as Jimmy Butler (six points on 3 of 14 shooting) still looked bothered by the knee injury that forced him out of Game 3.
This game would have been even more of a rout had Oladipo not had his best offensive game of the playoffs.
Celtics handle with care in Game 4
Another reason why this game was never close? Boston didn't give the Heat many free buckets.
After committing a whopping 23 turnovers in Game 3, the Celtics had just seven turnovers Monday night. Jaylen Brown turned it over seven times by himself in Game 3 but tallied just one turnover in a much more controlled Game 4 effort.
The Heat aren't a very talented offensive team and rely on their defense to generate offense. Boston didn't give them that opportunity Monday night, and the result was Miami's second-lowest scoring output of the postseason.
Derrick White sets the tone
This game was never really in doubt -- thanks in part to White, who scored Boston's first seven points and showcased some much-needed aggressiveness after tallying just three points total in Games 1 through 3.
White cooled off after a 10-point first quarter but still stuffed the stat sheet, finishing with 13 points, eight rebounds, six assists and three steals in his starting point guard role.
White has struggled offensively throughout this series, but if Smart is forced to miss any time, the Celtics would love more efforts like the one White gave Monday night.