The Boston Celtics lost Game 1 of their Eastern Conference Finals series against the Miami Heat on Tuesday, with the home team pulling away in the 3rd quarter despite a decent first half from the Celtics. Jimmy Butler was incredible for the Heat, putting up a 40-point performance and getting into the paint, and drawing fouls at will, enjoying the physicality of the contest.
The Celtics will feel like they should have done better, even though they were missing two big pieces in Al Horford and Marcus Smart. Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown had a combined 53 points on the night, but their efficiency wasn't all that good and they weren't able to stop the Heat from winning the 3rd quarter by 25 points. And Ime Udoka held his stars accountable after the game:
"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."
When the games slow down in the playoffs and shots aren't falling for the role players, stars are required to step up and make dents in the opposing team's run, but Tatum and Brown couldn't contribute much as the Celtics scored just 14 points in the 3rd quarter.
Smart and Horford returning soon are key for the Celtics as they are both key pieces on the defensive end, but Tatum and Brown will still have to step up to the plate offensively when it counts in the series. A loss in Game 1 away from home isn't the end of the world, but going down 2 against the Heat who have homecourt advantage would be slightly alarming for Udoka's team. The Celtics will be hoping to bounce back in the next game, and Tatum is likely to go off after an alright first game.