Opinion trends are a constant in the playoffs. Those who seem to us in the initial duel cease to seem so in the second, what happens in the third confuses us in the fourth and, from there, everything continues to vary because in long series it always happens. This is what happens to us with the Heat-Celtics: Erik Spoelstra’s team gave a clinic in the second half of the premiere, but the absence of Marcus Smart and Al Horford forgave the Greens. The return of both players destroyed the Heat and conquered Miami through the work and grace of the aforementioned Smart. And, when it seemed that those from Florida were destroyed, an authentic exhibition leaves the tie unequal again, with many doubts regarding the physical condition of Jimmy Butler (who did not return after the break with knee discomfort)but with the conviction that the Heat are not where they are by chance, nor have they come to the Conference finals to take a walk.
Bam Adebayo had already 8 points, the same as in the second game, with 5 minutes played. Before, we had some news: Robert Williams and the obvious fact that he has returned soon from his injury caused his absence in this assault, while Kyle Lowry returned, threatened to leave the game in the first quarter, but ended up playing 29 minutes, scoring 11 points and managing to break his own curse: his team was 7-0 without him in favor, 7-1 now. Many thought that the key to the tie passed through him, but so far he has not been until now. Of course, his level can mark what can happen in this series and determine the chances of the Heatabsolutely conditioned on how the Celtics show up and the ability they have to fight against, above all, themselves.
The Heat flew in the first quarter: 18-39, 64% in field goals and 5 of 7 in triples. After that, the goal was to endure: 47-62 at halftime and, now without Butler (8+3+2+2 in 19 minutes), 72-87 at the end of the third period and a misleading 103-109 final. The Heat were better, they dominated, controlled and only allowed the Celtics to get closer to 4 points (89-93 with just over 4 minutes remaining)… and to 1 (92-93 with less than 3). On both occasions it was Jaylen Brown who was in charge of leaving the Greens a stone’s throw away: 40 points, 9 rebounds and 14 of 20 field goals for the forward, enormous throughout the match and Green’s main support for the bad game of Jayson Tatum, irregular again (10 + 6 + 4, but 6 turnovers and 3 of 14 shots). Smart was good, but he was not the star player of the second match (16+4+7, 4 losses) and the Celtics lost up to 23 bloons (8 from the Heat), an absolute loss that conditioned the whole night and left the team in Ime Udoka reviled and decontextualized.
The star for the Heat was Bam Adebayo, who left in nothing the score of a Jaylen who did not finish playing well despite the statistics: 31 points, 10 rebounds, 6 assists and 4 steals with 15 of 22 shooting from the field and +17 with him on the court. PJ Tucker (17+7, 3 steals), Max Strus (16. 4 of 7 in triples) and 16 points off the bench between Caleb Martin and Tyler Herro (8 per head, but many shots from the shooting guard, who stayed at 4 of 15, with 0 of 6 in triples). Derrick White returned to the Celtics after his paternity leave and Al Horford, despite the loss, still looks 10 years younger than he is: 20 points, 14 rebounds and 3 assists, with 3 blocks. The Celtics, who have not lost two games in a row in all the playoffs, fall at home to the Heat after their exhibition in the second game and, again, they will have to recover and react to adversity, something they have been doing all season. Of course, everything will depend on Jimmy Butler and Erik Spoelstra’s ability to keep the magic. At this time, the sensations are different again. Again, question of trends.