Celtics vs. Heat: 3 Keys to Closing the Series

Boston will have a chance to punch its ticket to Eastern Conference semifinals on Wednesday night
Derrick White poured in a career-high 38 points (regular season and playoffs) on Monday, leading Boston to a 102-88 win over the Heat in Game 4.
Derrick White poured in a career-high 38 points (regular season and playoffs) on Monday, leading Boston to a 102-88 win over the Heat in Game 4. / Jim Rassol-USA TODAY Sports

The Boston Celtics are one win away from officially exacting revenge on the Miami Heat.

After falling to Miami in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference finals less than a year ago, Boston has a chance to get back at the Heat when the teams collide on Wednesday for Game 5 of their first-round playoff series.

A concerning performance in Game 2 caused the Celtics to cough up homecourt advantage, but Boston wasted no time getting it back, dominating the Heat in Miami in Games 3 and 4 to take a 3-1 lead in the best-of-seven series.

Now the Celtics are headed back to Boston as they attempt to punch their ticket to the second round for the seventh time in eight seasons.

Here are three things the Celtics need to focus on if they want to prevent a Game 6:

Get Jayson Tatum Involved Early

Kristaps Porzingis got off to a hot start in Game 3 and Derrick White netted 16 first-quarter points in Game 4, so there was really no need for Tatum to take over.

But he attempted just five shots from the field in the opening period in those two games combined, a staunch contrast from Game 2, where Tatum went for 14 points on 5-of-6 shooting through the first 12 minutes of action.

With all signs pointing toward Porzingis (calf) being out for Wednesday's contest, Tatum -- and Jaylen Brown -- need to take control of the game right out of the gate. If they fail to set the tone and let the Heat get some momentum, this series could very well end up going back to Miami.

Keep Leaning on the Defense

Yes, the Heat haven't had Jimmy Butler (knee) or Terry Rozier (neck) for this series, but don't let that distract you from just how good Boston's defense has been.

Miami has failed to reach the 100-point mark in all three of its losses, and aside from their historic Game 2 performance -- where they made 23 of 43 3-pointers (53.5 percent) -- the Heat have not connected on more than 32.4 percent of their attempts from deep.

If defense wins championships, the Celtics have one coming their way, and they must continue to take advantage of Miami's makeshift offense.

Attack the Paint

Boston has the advantage at virtually every position on the floor, and if it can get Bam Adebayo in foul trouble, well, the Heat might as well call it a season.

The Celtics love to rely on the 3-ball, and it's worked for them. You really can't argue with a 64-18 finish. But if Tatum and Brown go to the hoop with authority, Tyler Herro, Caleb Martin, Nikola Jovic and Duncan Robinson aren't going to know how to stop them.

Martin tried to slow Tatum down on Monday, and it went poorly, to say the least.

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