The Miami Heat are now in a best-of-three situation against the Boston Celtics in the Eastern Conference finals. Forty-eight hours after the Heat held their nerve to fend off a Celtics win in Game 3, the top-seeded team in the Eastern Conference were given a serious reality check by the Celtics at TD Garden on Monday.
Miami eventually lost the contest 82-102, but that scoreline doesn't quite reflect the true extent of their struggles in Game 4.
It was an underwhelming effort from the Miami Heat from the opening tip. They didn't have a field-goal in the first 8:38 of the opening quarter and trailed 1-18 to begin the game.
The Heat starters - Jimmy Butler, Kyle Lowry, P.J. Tucker, Max Strus and Bam Adebayo - finished with 12 points in the first half, making it the fewest points in the first two quarters of a playoff game by a starting lineup since the 76ers against the Heat in 2011 (had nine points).
The Boston Celtics' lead then mushroomed to as many as 32 points in the third quarter, soon after which Heat head coach Eric Spoelstra yanked his starters from the game and emptied the bench to play out the entire fourth quarter.
Victor Oladipo was the only bright spark for the Heat as he matched his 2022 playoff-high of 23 points while outscoring all Miami starters (18 points) entirely by himself.
Miami Heat vs Boston Celtics Eastern Conference finals is a keenly contested series amidst a number of blowout games
The 2022 Eastern Conference finals between the Miami Heat and the Boston Celtics is playing out in a strange way. Although the two teams are tied 2-2, one team has dominated the other by a big margin in each of the four games.
In Game 1, the Heat used a 39-14 third quarter to register a 118-107 win against the Celtics. Boston then bounced back to trounce the Heat by 25 points with a 127-102 victory in Game 2. Miami again took the advantage when they led Boston 62-37 before the half in Game 3. The Celtics then gave Miami a taste of their own medicine in Game 4.
The mostly one-sided wins in the four games led Miami Heat head coach Eric Spoelstra to summarize the series in the best possible way. He said after his team's debilitating loss in Game 4:
"Whatever they've done to us, we can do to them. None of us are happy about what happened. There are these extreme highs and lows particularly when you have 2 teams pretty evenly matched."