NBA Playoffs: Boston lives another day, clinches Game 4 win to avoid sweep

Boston’s season is still alive after winning Game 4 (Wilfredo Lee/Associated Press)

By Leobert Julian A. de la Peña

The Boston Celtics refused to end their NBA Playoffs campaign after pulling off a huge Game 4 win over the Miami Heat, 116-99, to stay alive in their Eastern Conference finals series last May 24, 2023.

With the huge win, the Celtics avoided an embarrassing 4-0 sweep from the Heat and will seek to win two more games to force a do-or-die Game 7.

Boston immediately kicked off Game 4 with a sense of urgency and grabbed an early 10-4 advantage after Jaylen Brown converted a leaning bank shot from the right block.

However, the Heat suddenly flipped the switch and changed the complexion of the crucial game when two-way bench star Caleb Martin entered to help Miami grab an eight-point lead in the first minute of the second quarter.

Unlike Game Three where they went tired sprinting for the defensive end, the Celtics looked like the top-seeded squad that they are after punching back with a series of physical plays to grab the boards and pushed the tempo to get back within striking distance.

Those hustle plays then paid off dividends after the Celtics came surging in the next five minutes of the third and built a 20-5 run to regain a 70-61 lead.

Just when Boston thought they already took control of the momentum, Jimmy Butler led the Heat’s assault in the closing minutes of the third to trim Boston’s lead to seven points.

Boston however had other plans and continued pushing the ball where they found several open threes drained by Derrick White and Al Horford to get back into the driver’s seat in the fourth.

It was then all Boston as their perimeter defense finally took effect especially on Butler, who was only held for 9/21 from the field.

Grant Williams, Boston’s defensive specialist who was tasked to front Butler, had his moments in the game after blocking Miami’s superstar in an isolation situation while also converting the wide-open kick-out passes made by Marcus Smart.

Jayson Tatum finally scored his most field goals made in the fourth quarter of the Eastern Conference finals and exploded for 33 big points alongside 11 rebounds and seven assists.

Meanwhile, Brown added 17 points, four rebounds, and four assists while Williams put up 14 markers built from four drilled treys out of his six total attempts.

It was just not Miami’s favorable shooting day in their attempt of sweeping Boston after settling for an 8/32 percentage from the three-point territory while also turning the ball over 15 times compared to the Celtics’ 10.

Boston will seek to win two games in a row and will head back to their home court on May 26, 2023, for Game 5 of the Eastern Conference finals.