The Boston Celtics were seemingly at the top of the world after their blowout win in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Finals over the Miami Heat. They had crushed the Heat 127-102 and had all the momentum as they headed back home for Game 3. Unfortunately for the Celtics, things panned out quite differently from what we all had expected.
The Heat stomped all over them in the first quarter and even with Jimmy Butler missing the entire second half due to right knee inflammation, Miami held on to win 109-103. The Celtics also had some injury concerns of their own in Game 3, as Marcus Smart went down with an ankle injury in the third quarter but he managed to come back, and Jayson Tatum suffered a shoulder injury in the fourth but he came back as well. After the game, Tatum gave an update on what exactly happened:
Jayson Tatum on his shoulder: "My neck got caught in a weird position... I felt some pain and discomfort in my neck and down my arm... started to gain some feeling back, got it checked by the doctors and decided to give it a go."
It looked like quite a scary injury at first, as Tatum clutched his shoulder as he stayed down for quite some time and it looked like he might be done for the game. He would return rather quickly, however, as he missed just under 2 minutes of game time after the incident.
Tatum's quick return from the locker room led to some drawing comparisons with the Paul Pierce incident from Game 1 of the 2008 NBA Finals, where he exited the court in a wheelchair, only to come back shortly and play a key role in their win over the Los Angeles Lakers. This one was nowhere near as dramatic, of course, and it did look like the injury bothered him a bit at the end there. It capped off one of his worst games in the playoffs and Tatum will look for a bounce-back game to help the Celtics avoid a 3-1 deficit in this series.