KEY POINTS

  • The Miami Heat were outplayed in all facets by the Boston Celtics in Game 2
  • Erik Spoelstra and Jimmy Butler remain confident in their abilities to win the series
  • The Celtics were greatly boosted by the return of Marcus Smart and Al Horford

The Miami Heat sought to defend home court against the Boston Celtics going into Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Finals, but the joint return of Al Horford and Marcus Smart was something that they were not prepared for.

Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra made sure to give the Celtics their flowers in how they were able to soundly beat them and even the series at one game apiece.

“You definitely have to credit Boston. It’s not just that they came in with great urgency and physicality, they also played well. They know what they’re capable of,” Spoelstra said in the postgame press conference.

“I’m sure they were not happy about us putting up 118 [points] in Game 1. They came out and were very disruptive, got us out of our normal rhythm, and the shot-making on the other end. Very tough to overcome.”

The story beats of Games 1 and 2 were similar to one another as the Celtics took the lead going into halftime, but the Heat failed to mount the same 39-14 run that they had in the third quarter in their first meeting and eventually went to drop home-court advantage, 127-102.

Jayson Tatum once again anchored the Celtics' offense with a 27-point outing on 61.5% shooting, while co-stars Jaylen Brown and Smart pitched in with 24 points each.

For the Heat, Jimmy Butler would be the only player to break through the 20-point mark by scoring 29 at almost the same clip as Tatum did, but scoring was definitely their Achilles heel in Game 2.

Gabe Vincent and Victor Oladipo were their next two best performers with 14 points apiece and not much else worth noting on the box score.

“They made shots that they missed last game, that’s just what it is. It’s going to be hard to beat anybody when they shoot 50 percent from the field and 50 percent from three. They were the more physical team overall. They got one on the road,” Butler said of the Celtics’ strong outing in Game 2.

With the series shifting to Boston in the famed TD Garden for Games 3 and 4, Butler and the Heat know that this is still a long series as long as they can steal one win away from home.

“You do have to move on. I don’t like to move on from this because it has to hurt. They tried to embarrass us, they did embarrass us, so we’ve got to realize that. We’ve got a tough job to do to go over there and win, but if they did it, we can do it as well,” Butler stressed.

Spoelstra had the same sentiments as his star player, noting that the Conference Finals--whether in the East or West--is almost always going to be a war of attrition.

“At this point [in] the Conference Finals, you just have very good teams. You have teams without many weaknesses. It’s a great competition. [But] this only counts as one. That’s what the experienced players in the locker room and staff understand. We don’t like it… We just have to figure some things out,” Spoelstra mentioned.

Game 3 will be played on Saturday, May 21 with tip-off slated for 8:30 PM.

Erik Spoelstra, Miami Heat Head coach Erik Spoelstra of the Miami Heat reacts to a play during the fourth quarter against the Boston Celtics in Game Two of the 2022 NBA Playoffs Eastern Conference Finals at FTX Arena on May 19, 2022 in Miami, Florida. Photo: Michael Reaves/Getty Images