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C’s thrive from 3 in dominant Game 1 win – NBC Sports Boston

Vaseline 2 months ago

BOSTON – The Boston Celtics’ 2024 playoffs couldn’t have started much better.

The raucous TD Garden crowd was treated to a dominant Celtics victory in Game 1 of their Eastern Conference first-round series against the Miami Heat. It was a wire-to-wire victory that started with Boston going on a 14-0 run. Although the Heat cut that deficit to five by the end of the quarter, it was all C’s from then on.

The Celtics pulled away to lead by as many as 34 points in their 114-94 win. It was a balanced effort as six of the eight players who appeared in the match scored in double figures. Jayson Tatum and Derrick White led the way with 23 and 20 points, respectively.

With Jimmy Butler (knee) and Terry Rozier (neck) out for Miami, Bam Adebayo scored a team-high 24 points.

Game 2 at TD Garden is scheduled for Wednesday at 7:00 PM ET on NBC Sports Boston. Coverage begins at 6 p.m Celtics Pregame Live.

First, here are three takeaways from Game 1.

Live by the 3, die by the 3

The Celtics lived and died on their three-point shooting during their historic 2023-2024 season, so why stop now?

Boston let it rip early and often from beyond the arc in Game 1. It attempted 18 three-pointers in the opening frame, compared to just four for Miami. During the first half, the Celtics went 12-for-30 from 3, while the Heat shot just 3-for-14 from deep. As many as 30 of the C’s field goal attempts in the first half came from three-point range.

Celtics head coach Joe Mazzulla didn’t change strategy in the second half. Boston picked up where it left off, shooting 10-for-19 from 3 in the second half and finishing 22-for-49 (44.9 percent) – tying the franchise record for 3-pointers in a playoff game. Miami, meanwhile, was a less-than-stellar 12 of 37 (32.4 percent).

Seven of the eight Celtics players who played in Sunday’s game made multiple three-pointers. They all tried at least four.

Both Kristaps Porzingis (18 points) and Derrick White (20 points) were 4-for-8 from deep. Sam Hauser was 4-of-6 off the bench.

Jayson Tatum does it all

Tatum played a key role in the Celtics’ torrid start in Game 1, but it wasn’t just his goals that impressed.

The five-time All-Star did everything he could to provide the spark in the first half. According to Celtics statistics guru Dick Lipe, he became the second C player in the play-by-play era to record at least five points and five assists in the first quarter of a playoff game.

Tatum finished the half with 15 points, eight rebounds and six assists. He and 2008 NBA champion Rajon Rondo are the only Celtics in the play-by-play era to reach those numbers in the first half of a playoff game.

The Heat quickly learned to double Tatum at their own peril. The 26-year-old has improved tremendously in terms of playmaking this season, and has benefited from the C’s having several other attacking weapons at their disposal.

Tatum led Boston in points (23), rebounds (10) and assists (10) for his first career playoff triple-double.

The only blemish on Tatum’s stats was his 1-for-8 performance from 3-point range. Strangely enough, he was the only Celtic not to make multiple threes. That didn’t matter as he prepared his teammates for success from beyond the arc.

The ‘Stay Ready’ group is ready for the play-offs

The Celtics’ bench was an underrated part of the team’s success during the historic regular season. Sharpshooters Payton Pritchard and Sam Hauser in particular have paid a lot of attention to Boston’s search for Banner 18.

The second device, nicknamed the ‘Stay Ready group’, proved on Sunday afternoon that it is ready for primetime.

Pritchard started well with two three-pointers in the opening frame. He finished the first half with eight points while adding four assists.

Hauser caught fire in the second quarter, drilling four straight 3-pointers.

Pritchard and Hauser combined to score 20 points in the first half. They finished a combined 7-for-13 from the field and 6-for-11 from deep. Although they were quiet in the second half, their first half performance helped Boston take control of the game early.

Al Horford, the veteran leader of the “Stay Ready” group, finished with 10 points and seven boards. The 37-year-old was 4-of-8 from the floor (2-5 3-PT).

Boston’s bench has been a weakness in previous playoff runs. That doesn’t appear to be the case this time, and that alone should strike fear in the rest of the Eastern Conference.

HIGHLIGHTS: Celtics blow out Heat 114-94, win Game 1