The Boston Celtics are just too hot to handle.
Just the Miami Heat, who not only had to deal with the hot shooting of the Celtics, but also had to deal with the hot hand of Jayson Tatum who poured in 49 points while knocking down 15 of his 25 shot attempts.
Granted the Heat were without Jimmy Butler, but they are a squad who always play the Celtics tough. That was the case for much of the game as the Celtics finally ran away to a 134-121 victory in the first of the two-game set at TD Garden.
The Celtics jumped out to a quick 20-8 lead in the first quarter with both Tatum and Jaylen Brown flying on all cylinders. The Heat punched back led by big man Bam Adebayo and some hot shooting from Miami behind the stripe. The two teams went back and forth throughout the game, but it was Tatum, Brown and the Celtics that orchestrated a 16-6 run in the fourth quarter to finally extinguish the Heat.
Boston Celtics extinguish the Miami Heat when it counts
With both teams shooting over 50 percent in the game, it was the Celtics stars who were the difference in this one. Tatum was on fire, Brown did his thing, but what set Boston apart was key contributions from veterans Al Horford, Malcolm Brogdon and Marcus Smart who dished out 9 assists in the victory.
In scoring 130 points for the third consecutive game, the Celtics are simply outscoring teams, but as Adebayo proved, the team does need to beef it up inside. The eventual return of Rob Williams should help, but defensively they do need to protect the paint better, especially when the shots at the other end aren’t falling.
But, in all, when a team has a superstar like Tatum doing everything on the court, any flaws on the team seem manicure.