The Boston Celtics have lived to see another day after defeating the Miami Heat 116-99 in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference finals in Miami on Tuesday night.
With the win, the Celtics avoid the sweep and trail the Heat 3-1. Game 5 is Thursday night back in Boston.
Jaylen Brown, who had 17 points, said the team wanted to show some pride in Game 4, and he credited the leadership of Marcus Smart.
“We didn’t want to come out and lay an egg,” Brown said. “We wanted to come out and play together, wanted to come out and trust each other, come out and play some defense, have some pride about yourself, and find a way to win a game. We’re all more than capable of doing it. So, tonight we got it done. Smart was in my ear, letting me know where the game is at. Just keep being aggressive; keep making the right plays.
“It ain’t always got to be you putting the ball in the basket; that helped us win tonight. So just continue to make the right plays, and the game will open up for you, and that’s what Smart does is just being a leader, be vocal, and we found a way to win.”
Smart, who had 11 points, says Boston has to take it one game at a time.
“Now we’ve just got to go win another one,” he said. “That’s all that matters. We take it one game at a time. We understand the odds are stacked against us, but we’re a team that believes in us no matter what, and we’ve just got to keep going, and all that matters is the next game.”
Boston does not win Game 4 without the play of Jayson Tatum. The four-time All-Star scored 25 of his 33 points in the second half. In addition, he added 11 rebounds and seven assists. Like Smart, he’s just taking it one game at a time.
“We just tried to take it one game at a time,” Tatum said. “We tried to break it down. We didn’t play well the first three games, we didn’t deserve to win, but we didn’t want that to define us, define the season. We’ve still got a long uphill battle to go. But tonight was a good start. Just to try to carry this momentum towards Thursday.”
If Boston can win Game 5, this series becomes interesting. The Celtics are a tough-minded and resilient bunch; they don’t give up or give in very easily.
Can they be the first team in NBA history to come back from a 3-0 series deficit?
They have a shot because they have homecourt advantage, so if the Celtics can somehow get the series back to Boston for a Game 7, anything is possible, but, as they said, the Celtics have to take it one game at a time.