BOSTAN – Marcus Smart brought the Celtics the energy needed to win the 2nd game of the final match of the Eastern Conference with Heath.
Now, armed with a home play advantage in the series, Boston will strive to maintain an advantage in TD Garden during Saturday’s Game 3, where it will face the Miami team, which is dealing with new health issues.
The chance to lead the series is a good change of position for Boston, who had to play catch-up throughout the second round series with Milwaukee before winning games 6 and 7. The Celtics are 4-0 after losing this offseason.
Smart, the best defensive player of the year, said his goal was to achieve the advantage he became known for in Boston.
“Being the energy that I am, I am a playmaker, I take a lot of the pressure off our guys so they don’t have to force so hard,” Smart said. “So they can be who they are.”
In Game 1, Smart watched a mid-foot sprain as Boston surpassed 39-14 in the third quarter on the road to a 118-107 defeat. In the second game, he scored 24 points and gave 12 assists in the victory of the Celtics with a score of 127-102.
He supported the big nights for Jason Tatum (27 points), Jaylen Brown (24 points) and Al Horford, who scored 10 points in 32 minutes after being knocked out at the start of the series while executing health and safety protocols.
“I was just telling myself you were playing Game 2,” Smart said. “I don’t care how much it hurts you, you have to try.”
Boston coach Ime Udoka said that after the first game it could be considered that Heath beat his team. Miami’s schemes did not change in the second game, but the Celtics equaled the Hit in physical and intensity.
“We are proud to be one of the toughest teams,” said Udoka. “We knew that if we played, we would be in good shape.”
The Celtics led 70-45 at the break and defeated Heath’s attempts to win back, playing with them even (26-26) in the third quarter. On the 25th, entering the fourth, the coach of “Heath” Eric Spoelstra decided to rest his starting lineup.
Forward Heat PJ Tucker left the game with a bruised knee. He had an MRI done on Friday before boarding a team plane in Boston.
Player status Kyle Lowry also remains in the air after he missed Game 1 due to a hamstring problem. He has conceded eight of his last 10 games and has not played out of 4 games of the Miami series of the second round with Philadelphia.
Asked after Game 2 about the prospect of not having Tucker, Jimmy Butler said the heat would adjust as needed.
“I think he’ll be fine,” Butler said. “If he’s not ready to go, everyone else should be ready. These are even bigger shoes that need to be filled because he does it in the defensive part. But we are capable of it. “
That would be easier said than done against the Celtics, which exposed Miami’s attempts to meddle in the defensive zone by plugging in 20 of 40 attempts from the 3-point range.
Horford’s presence has also made the Heat Bam Adebayo center a virtual non-factor. Adebayo had nine rebounds and six points.
“The beauty of this team is that we have to play through adversity at the start of the season with injuries and the like. CORONIVAL INFECTION COVID. We need to see what we are really made of, ”Smart said. “It was nice to have a unit that, when we’re there, knows what we can do.”
More AP NBA: https://apnews.com/hub/NBA and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports
Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or distributed without permission.