The second game of the regular-season min-series between the Celtics and Heat got played at a slow pace and mostly in the half court, terms favoring Miami and making it difficult for Boston to find and sustain a rhythm offensively.
The hosts often generated good but rarely great shots. Still, the Celtics worked through a matchup light on transition opportunities to put 110 points on the board in regulation, including Jaylen Brown banking in a three from 30 feet to force overtime.
But Jayson Tatum, playing with his wrist and hand taped heavier than usual, registered only 14 points on 5/18 shooting, including going 0/7 from beyond the arc.
Between that and Boston committing 20 turnovers, leading to 21 points for the Heat, and Miami turning 12 offensive rebounds into 22 second-chance points, the Celtics suffered their second loss at home this season and fell to 0-3 in overtime games.
Now, for a deep dive into what stood out in Boston's 120-116 defeat at the hands of the Heat.
In a First Half Where Offensive Rhythm was Hard to Come by and More Difficult to Sustain, the Celtics Put 62 Points on the Board
After 24 minutes, the Celtics held a 62-59 advantage. What makes their eclipsing 60 points even more impressive is the nature of the first half made it challenging to find a rhythm, reflected by a 27-27 first frame.
Most of the first two quarters got played in the half court, leading to the hosts regularly launching shots after one pass. Boston was efficient with its shot selection, only taking two mid-range jumpers, with the rest coming in the paint -- almost exclusively in the restricted area -- and beyond the arc. But those attempts often came off one pass and a lack of off-ball activity.
Still, aided by an 11-3 second-quarter run featuring three makes from long range, with the game played in transition, those looks were good enough to finish the first half shooting 52.3 percent from the field, including converting on 9/19 (47.4 percent) of their threes.
While the Heat utilized the officials mostly allowing both teams to play physically, junking up the game and further slowing the pace down, it also translated to a 19-9 free-throw discrepancy, favoring the hosts. The Celtics capitalized on 15 of those 19 foul shots, a significant reason for their three-point advantage.
Had Boston not committed 14 turnovers -- nine in the second quarter -- leading to 12 points for Miami, the hosts would've been up by more. A better job taking care of the ball in the second half will go a long way toward more transition opportunities, making it easier to get and stay in rhythm. If the game continues at a slower pace, favoring the Heat, this game is there for the taking for Miami.
Jaylen Brown Powers Boston's Third-Quarter Offense
The third quarter was light on offense, too, as both teams clawed their way to 47 points total, with the hosts providing 25 and the visitors producing 22.
But Jaylen Brown generated 12 points in the frame, propelling the Celtics to an 87-81 advantage entering the fourth quarter. His scoring came courtesy of a pair of threes from 27 feet on the left wing, a pair of transition layups, and two free throws.
Brown's much-needed spark, helping work through the game's slow pace and Jayson Tatum's shooting struggles, including not making any of the five threes he hoisted in the first three quarters, gave him 26 points through 36 minutes.
Heat's Final Frame Rally Negated by Jaylen Brown
Trailing 93-81 with just over seven minutes remaining, Miami staged a 13-0 run, fueled by transition opportunities. Needing to be stronger with the ball, Boston committed three turnovers in four possessions, fueling that burst by the Heat.
But even with Bam Adebayo scoring nine points and a pair of clutch mid-range jumpers by Jimmy Butler, including circling the court, dribbling back out from the baseline, then squaring up and swishing a fadeaway that gave the visitors a 110-107 advantage with 5.6 seconds left.
All Miami required was one more stop to split its mini-series with the Celtics, but again, Brown met the moment, banking in a three from 30 feet, forcing overtime.
Miami Prevails in the Fifth Quarter
The hosts struck first in the extra frame, with Brown rattling home a mid-range pull-up jumper out of an action involving he and Tatum.
But with Butler and Adebayo combining for eight of the Heat's 10 points, including the former icing the game with another difficult attempt, this time, a contested step-back from 17 feet, the visitors, who treated this like a playoff game, emerged from TD Garden with a 120-116 victory.
The Celtics travel to Brooklyn to face the Nets on Sunday. The game tips off at 6:00 pm EST. Inside The Celtics will have content related to the game coming out before, during, and after. And follow @BobbyKrivitsky on Twitter for updates and analysis from pregame to post.