Jayson Tatum scores 34 as Celtics avoid elimination by beating Heat 116-99 in Game 4

MIAMI — Jayson Tatum had 34 points and 11 rebounds, Derrick White and Jaylen Brown each added 16 points, and the Boston Celtics avoided elimination in the Eastern Conference Finals by running away in the second half to beat the Miami Heat 116-99 in Game 4 on Tuesday night.

Grant Williams scored 14, Al Horford added 12 and Marcus Smart scored 11 for the Celtics, who are still trailing the series 3-1 – but fired it to Boston for Game 5 on Thursday.

Jimmy Butler scored 29 for Miami, which led by nine in the second half before being outscored 48-22 in 14 minutes that completely turned the game – and possibly the series – upside down. Boston would also have Game 7 on home soil if they can continue to extend that streak.

Gabe Vincent scored 17 for Miami, Caleb Martin had 16 and Bam Adebayo added 10. The Heat shot 8 for 32 on 3-pointers, while Boston had 19 for 45 – a whopping 33-point difference in scoring beyond the arch.

No team in NBA history has ever managed to overcome a 3–0 deficit in a best-of-seven series; 150 tried, 150 failed.

But the Celtics gave themselves hope.

“We were just trying to salvage our season,” Tatum said.

The Heat led by as much as nine points in the first quarter, held the lead for the majority of the first half, and gained nine points again when Max Strus connected on a 3-pointer early in the third quarter .

Boston’s season was officially on the brink.

And the Celtics responded – most emphatically.

An 18-0 run took Boston from nine to nine, a huge turnaround that took just three minutes. The Celtics were 6 of 7 from the floor on the run, 4 of 4 on 3-pointers, Tatum had nine of 18 points and just like that, the defending champions East – who won three playoff games in Miami on the year last playoffs – were rolling again.

Miami came within four in the bottom of the third, to see another lightning-fast push from the Celtics – this time, seven unanswered points in 40 seconds. Boston’s advantage was 88-79 heading into the fourth, after winning the third quarter 38-23, with 21 of those 3-pointers.

The Celtics held the advantage until the end.


Celtics: Tatum’s second 3-pointer of the night was the 220th of his playoff career, passing Paul Pierce for the most in Celtics playoff history. … Boston’s last four-game losing streak dates back to May 2021, at the end of the 2020-21 regular season. … Tatum’s jumper with 9:22 left put Boston in seven, stopped a Heat surge — and was his first field goal in the fourth quarter of the series.

Heat: Vincent left early in the fourth quarter after twisting his left ankle. … Miami was going for its first five-game winning streak of the season — not the playoffs, all season. His longest regular-season winning streak was four games in December.


Heat guard Tyler Herro, who broke his right hand in Game 1 of the first round in Milwaukee, has removed his brace and is returning to practices. “He starts the process,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. “There is no timetable. But he has the brace and he is able to ball and shoot.


Among the celebrities in the crowd: PGA champion Brooks Koepka (who was also at the Florida Panthers’ victory in Game 3 of their Eastern Conference Finals series against Carolina on Tuesday night), the NBA superfan Jimmy Goldstein, former New York Yankees teammates Derek Jeter and Alex Rodriguez and actor Jeremy Piven.

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