Skip to main content

On Tuesday, on the heels of Game 4's series-tying win, Ime Udoka looked back at what happened in the previous matchup, one where the Heat were the aggressors, and the Celtics came out flat.

"We were disappointed in Game 3 with the way we came out with a chance to do something special at home."


His team has proven all year it can respond well to adversity. To get to the NBA Finals, and if this is the year Boston raises banner 18 to the rafters at TD Garden, the Celtics have to show they can maintain their edge whether they're coming off a win or a loss.

When it comes to not letting the blade dull after Monday's 102-82 victory, their head coach conveyed: "For us, consistency is a thing we're all looking for; and we talked about it, not getting caught off-guard when they up their physicality."

USATSI_18325100 (1)

When Jayson Tatum came to the podium after producing a game-high 31 points in Game 4, he stated his team needs to have the mindset that Game 5 is a "must-win game."

That was also true on Monday, where it's safe to say Boston's season was on the line. It required refocusing, which for Tatum meant bouncing back from arguably the worst showing of his playoff career. It wasn't just that he shot 3/14, finishing with ten points; the Heat's physicality made him uncomfortable throughout Saturday's loss, and he committed six turnovers, including some careless passes.

So, what was the time between Game's 3 and 4 like for Tatum?

"Right after, it's tough; frustrated with how you played. Knowing how important this time of year is and feeling like you let your teammates down."

He went on to say, "but I think I do a really good job of, after I sleep it off, regardless if I have ten points or 46 points, the next day is the next day, and whatever happened, happened. I'm a big believer you can't change what happened.

"Obviously, I was ready to get back to play, but I didn't doubt myself. You know, I know how to play basketball. Regardless of how many points I score, just trying to come out and help us get a win."

Scroll to Continue



That speaks to a point made by his head coach, who labeled his team: "a very prideful group that understands the opportunity in front of us."

Game 4's win was the latest example of that. It had far less to do with schematic adjustments then playing with a sense of urgency, more physicality, and taking better care of the ball after giving it away 24 times in the previous matchup.

The Heat played like a team that already got what it came for, but Boston couldn't allow that to influence them. Doing so would've opened the door for Miami to steal a win and deliver a back-breaker on the Celtics' parquet.


Robert Williams, who in Game 4 reinforced Boston's a different team with him in the lineup, and whose size and athleticism is a difference-maker in this series, spoke to that after his team knotted the Eastern Conference Finals at two.

When asked about the reason for the Celtics playing with more urgency and physicality than on Saturday, Williams responded: "Honestly, cause we lost last game. I feel like that's how every team is. We need to work on being better in that aspect. We shouldn't have to get punched in the mouth to respond."

Further Reading

The Top 5 Plays from Game 4 Between the Celtics and Heat

What Stood Out from Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Finals: In a Must-Win Game, Celtics Deliver

Celtics Discuss Not Matching Heat's Urgency, Physicality in Game 3: 'If we want to win this series, we have to match that physicality'

What Stood Out from Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Finals: Heat Play with More Urgency, Celtics Commit 24 Turnovers in Loss

A 'Grateful' Al Horford Discusses Getting Cleared for Game 2

What Stood Out from Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Finals: Celtics Win Decisively, Tying the Series as it Heads to Boston