Could this be why the Celtics fell apart in Game 1?

The Boston Celtics lost Game 1 of the Eastern Conference to the Miami Heat in Florida Tuesday night, and the Celtics fell apart in the third quarter of the game. (Author: Gardener)

Game 1The Boston Celtics lost the first game of the Eastern Conference Finals to the Miami Heat 119-106 on Tuesday night in Florida. The Celtics had won early in the game but fell apart in the second half and never recovered. They had a three-point lead at the end of the first quarter, and an eight-point lead at halftime. However, they were blown out in the third quarter with a score of 39-14. However, another theory as to why the Celtics fell apart could stem from the fact that they ended their second-round playoff series Sunday afternoon in Boston. In the NBA playoffs, there is a huge advantage in winning a series early because it gives you time to prepare for the next opponent, plus rest. The Heat ended their streak with the Philadelphia 76ers on Thursday, giving them a full four days until Tuesday to rest. The Celtics essentially had no time to rest. So it's possible they were just tired at the start of the second half on Tuesday night. On Sunday afternoon, the Milwaukee Bucks lost Game 7 to the Boston Celtics, who officially end their 2021-22 NBA season in the second round. They won the NBA championship last season and will now enter an off-season where they can try to improve the roster to return to the NBA Finals. * FULL 2022 NBA PLAYOFF RESULTS AND SCHEDULE: Fastbreak on FanNation will update the results and schedule for every 2022 NBA Playoff game.


Grant Williams Player Prop Bets: Celtics vs Heat

Grant Williams and his Boston Celtics teammates take on the Miami Heat in the 2022 NBA Playoffs on Thursday at 8:30 p.m. ET. In this article, we're going to dive into Williams' stats and trends to help you spot the top picks among his prop bets for this matchup. (Author: Gardener)

Grant Williams PlayerGrant Williams and his Boston Celtics teammates take on the Miami Heat in the 2022 NBA Playoffs on Thursday at 8:30 p.m. ET. In this article, we're going to dive into Williams' stats and trends to help you spot the top picks among his prop bets for this matchup. Let's take a look at Williams' prop bets, stats and trends ahead of this outing to help you make good predictions. Williams averages 7.8 points, 1.0 assists and 3.6 rebounds per game. Boston Celtics at Miami Heat Williams is averaging 6.3 points less against the Heat than his total prop bet for the game. Williams' 2.3 rebounds per game against the Heat is 2.2 fewer than his total prop bet. Williams averages 0.6 assists against the heat, 0.1 more than his prop bet over/under. In games against the Heat, Williams has averaged 1.1 fewer three-pointers per game than his current over/under (1.5). Williams' points-per-game average in his last 10 competitions (10.4) is 0.9 more than his over/under for that game. Williams' 7.8-point scoring average is 1.7 down from Thursday's prop total. Williams has gone over 9.5 points 31 times in 89 games this season. Williams is averaging 0.9 fewer rebounds than his Thursday prop bet of 4.5. Williams has averaged 1.0 assists this season, 0.5 more than his Thursday prop bet. Williams has handed over 0.5 assists in 54 of 89 games. Williams' 1.4 made three-pointer average is 0.1 lower than his prop bet on Thursday. Place your legal sports bets on this game or others in CO, NJ at Tipico Sportsbook. Gannett may earn revenue from Tipico for viewer recommendations on betting services. Tipico has no control over, nor is such revenue in any way dependent on or connected to the newsrooms or reporting. General terms and conditions see


Robert Williams III Player Prop Bets: Celtics vs Heat

The Boston Celtics, including Robert Williams III, take on the Miami Heat in the 2022 NBA Playoffs Thursday at 8:30 p.m. ET. With the prop bets available for Williams in this matchup, let's break down the stats and trends to help you find the best bets for this competition. (Author: Gardener)

Robert Williams III PlayerThe Boston Celtics, including Robert Williams III, take on the Miami Heat in the 2022 NBA Playoffs Thursday at 8:30 p.m. ET. Let's break down the stats and trends to help you find the best bets for this competition as there are prop bets available for Williams in this matchup. Let's break down Williams' prop bets, stats and trends ahead of this matchup to help you make good predictions. Williams leads the Celtics with 9.6 rebounds per game while he also has 2.0 assists and 10.0 points. Boston Celtics at Miami Heat Williams is averaging 2.9 points per game against the Heat, 6.6 shy of his current over/under. Williams is amassing 3.1 rebounds per game against the Heat, 6.4 fewer than his current prop total. Williams is accumulating fewer assists against the Heat -- 1.1 fewer per game, to be exact -- than his prop bet over/under. Williams' points-per-game average in his last 10 contests (8.6) is 0.9 less than his over/under for this matchup. Thursday's points support for Williams is 9.5. Williams has gone over 9.5 points 42 times in 67 games this season. Williams' rebound average per game of 9.6 is 0.1 higher than his Thursday prop bet (9.5). Williams' single-game rebound total has exceeded 9.5 in 32 of the 67 games he's played this season. Williams is averaging 2.0 assists, up 0.5 from Thursday's prop bet (1.50). Williams has had more than 1.5 assists in 30 of 67 games this season. Place your legal sports bets on this game or others in CO, NJ at Tipico Sportsbook. Gannett may earn revenue from Tipico for viewer recommendations on betting services. Tipico has no control over, nor is such revenue in any way dependent on or connected to the newsrooms or reporting. General terms and conditions see


Why we should expect Celtics to bounce back with a Game 2 win over Heat

The Celtics have responded well to losses during the 2022 NBA playoffs. Will that streak continue in Game 2 against the Heat on Thursday night. (Author: Gardener)

Game 2The Boston Celtics played a great first half against the Miami Heat in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals, and then everything fell apart in the third quarter. The Heat took full control of the game, beating the Cs 39-14 in one of the most one-sided quarters in Boston playoff history. Despite their terrible second-half performance, there are reasons to be optimistic about the Celtics' chances of recovering and winning Game 2 to steal home field advantage. Not only was veteran guard Marcus Smart able to return to the lineup after missing the start of the series with a foot injury, the Celtics as a team have responded reasonably well to postseason losses. Boston is 3-0 with an average win margin of 14.6 points after losing in the 2022 playoffs, with each of those wins coming in the second round against the Bucks. Boston responded immediately in Game 2, opening an 11-point lead after the first quarter and a 25-point lead at halftime. Jaylen Brown scored 25 of his powerful 30 points in the first half. * The Celtics had a chance to win Game 3 away but missed two late 3-pointers in the last minute and failed to convert in the final seconds on a couple of tries right on the edge. Boston trailed by seven points in Game 4 in the fourth quarter and then dominated the final 12 minutes, beating Milwaukee 43-25 over that span. They gambled away a 14-point lead in the fourth quarter and failed to unearth the game's most important rebound, allowing Bobby Portis to give the Bucks a late lead with a basket from an offensive rebound. Jrue Holiday hit a few clutch shots and sealed the win with a great last-minute block on Marcus Smart. It was the kind of loss that mentally challenged teams wouldn't have recovered from, but the Celtics responded well in Game 6 on the Jayson Tatum-led straight. The C's superstar accumulated 46 points and dueled Antetokounmpo to force a Game 7. Tatum is averaging 35 points on 57.5% shooting in games after losses in this playoff run. If the Celtics' winning streak is to continue after Thursday night's Game 2 losses, Tatum will need to rise to the challenge again and lead the charge offensively. He didn't play bad in Game 1 with 29 points, eight rebounds and six assists, but his second-half performance wasn't nearly good enough for Boston in a hostile street environment.


Celtics' smart has been upgraded to likely while Heat's Lowry is still out as pandemic protocols remain series factors

MIAMI — The specter of COVID and illness continues to be a factor in the Eastern Conference Finals series between the Miami Heat and the Boston Celtics. A day after Celtics big man Al Horford entered the NBA's health and safety protocols, Boston coach Ime Udoka was unavailable for his team's media session Wednesday as the Celtics said it was a non -COVID disease. But lingering concerns... (Author: Gardener)

Heat's LowryMarcus Smart of the Boston Celtics reacts off the bench during the second quarter in Game 1 against the Miami Heat in the Eastern Conference Finals at FTX Arena on May 17, 2022 in Miami. MIAMI — The specter of COVID and illness continues to be a factor in the Eastern Conference Finals series between the Miami Heat and the Boston Celtics. A day after Celtics big man Al Horford entered the NBA's health and safety protocols, Boston coach Ime Udoka was unavailable for his team's media session Wednesday as the Celtics said it was a non -COVID disease. However, ongoing concerns about the pandemic are affecting the NBA playoffs for the third straight year, with the Heat returning to a mask mandate for all media at Wednesday's interview session. Horford was not expected to be available for Wednesday's 8:30 game two and Thursday's FTX Arena, both of which have been officially ruled doubtful by the Celtics. It's not the scenario Heat coach Erik Spoelstra was hoping for at this stage of the pandemic. "It's disappointing," he said. "It's like every time you think it's going beyond it, it's not." "They want to beat their best with our best," he said. Heat warden Tyler Herro said Wednesday the return of COVID and illness is just a sign of the times. "I mean, you only control what you can control," he said. While the Celtics didn't offer any updates on Horford, guard Marcus Smart, the 2022 NBA Defensive Player of the Year, was upgraded to likely Thursday to return from the metatarsal sprain that knocked him out of Tuesday's opening win of the series. "Obviously he's Defensive Player of the Year," Herro said, "so obviously being on the ground brings with it a presence that side of the ball. He's a great player so obviously being out there shifts things around a bit.” Herro said a Horford return would mean a similar series shift whenever that might come. "I mean both are back, that's two of their five starters," he said. Celtics guard Sam Hauser is also out with a right shoulder instability. For the Heat, point guard Kyle Lowry remains sidelined with a thigh strain listed as out to miss his eighth game of the last 10. Spoelstra said Lowry was limited to light shooting on Wednesday, with the Heat limited in their playing time. "I don't have a new update," he said. Yes, Herro said he was surprised that Tuesday's heat rally anthem of 'Pepas' was played with significant time remaining, perhaps a bit premature. "It did," he said. I think there was about four minutes on the clock.” The Heat led 13 to play by 3:18, later cutting their lead to seven at 1:28. Spoelstra said he was unaware of the premature Pepas, but acknowledged being unaware of a significant portion of the Pepas phenomenon at FTX Arena. I didn't realize it [Tuesday] night," Spoelstra said. "And it took about five games during the regular season to realize when our players in the huddle were all excited and I was looking around like 'focus' on Sand. “I didn't even know it was being played [Tuesday] night. At that point I thought the game was very even.”


Jimmy Butler, Heat attempt to take a 2-0 lead against Celtics

The Miami Heat defeated the Boston Celtics 118-107 in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals on Tuesday night. Learn more at (Author: Gardener)

Jimmy ButlerHe's averaging nearly 30 points per game this postseason, has hit the 40-point mark three times in his last 10 games after not having those regular-season games since 2017, and has the Miami Heat in Game 1 of the Eastern worn over the Boston Celtics finals of the conference. "I've been a quote-unquote scorer at other points in my career and it hasn't worked out that well for me," Butler said. So far this postseason has been going well for Butler and the top-seeded Heat, who will be looking to take a 2-0 lead in the East title series when they host the second-placed Celtics again on Thursday night. It's not going to be easy: The Celtics are 3-0 from losses in these playoffs, winning those bounceback games by averaging 14.7 points and clinching two of those wins away from home. But it remains unclear if they will defer Defensive Player of the Year Marcus Smart (sprained metatarsal) for Game 2. The Celtics were also without forward Al Horford (health and safety logs) for Game 1 — his status seems in doubt for Game 2 best given the NBA's return-to-play rules — and said coach Ime Udoka was at one on Wednesday Non-COVID disease sick. "We have a lot of self-confidence," said Celtics center Daniel Theis on Wednesday when his team gathered for a film session. Game 1 was a 118-107 loss for the Celtics Tuesday night, although Boston pointed out after the game that the combined results of the first, second and fourth quarters added up to Celtics 93, heat 79. A 39-14 Miami daughter In that 12 minutes - Butler had 17 points in that quarter alone, beating the Celtics - turned the whole game around and the Heat saw their lead never shrink to less than nine in the last quarter became. "Expect us to play better," said Boston forward Jayson Tatum, who had six turnovers in that crucial quarter. "Expect me to play a lot better." In other words, he expects to reach a higher level. Butler is already there. He is averaging 29.8 points, 7.7 rebounds, 5.4 assists and 2.3 steals in these playoffs on 53.5% shooting. Since the NBA began tracking each of these stats, no one has finished a postseason averaging as much in each category while shooting as well. And Heat coach Erik Spoelstra has a simple reason why Butler is in this space. "More attention to detail," Spoelstra said. As competition drives you and the stakes increase, you will increase your level of play. It's not about hitting bigger numbers. It's about doing what is necessary. And this level is high, this competition, and he feels it and he knows it. Butler went 17-18 from the foul line in Game 1. The only player who made or made more free throws in a game against Boston this season was Kevin Durant — who played 18-20 for Brooklyn in Game 2 of the first game . Round series between the Celtics and Nets. "He's comfortable," Boston's Jaylen Brown said of Butler. “He's feeling very comfortable at the moment and we need to do a better job of breaking that rhythm he's in. Butler's last 40-point game of the regular season came on January 25, 2017 for Chicago — three franchises and up from five years ago. But he's had five such games in the playoffs since coming to Miami, the first two coming in the bubble two years ago when he carried the Heat to the NBA Finals. "I don't care if it's a big stage or a small stage or who's watching," Butler said. Whether on the big stage, at home or away. I know why I do what I do."


In order for the Celtics not to go down 2-0, they need to address the following

Jayson Tatum on the Heat taking control of Game 1 in the third quarter: "I need to lead better, I need to play better in those moments and I'm just looking forward to responding to that." (Author: Gardener)

2Let's start with the obvious: Committing 16 turnovers, eight of them in that disastrous third quarter of Game 1, is unacceptable. The Heat converted those errors into 19 points, 12 of which came in the third frame. Jayson Tatum accounted for seven of those 16 turnovers, and he coughed up the ball six times in the third quarter. Here Tatum gets the ball from Jaylen Brown, comes off a screen from Robert Williams and inexplicably picks up his dribbling right away. He then telegraphs a pass back to Brown, which Butler kicks in front of and he earns two points at the other end. Boston's subsequent possession credits Butler with reading the situation, knowing he'll have a great shot at a steal if it comes from Williams' blind end. But Tatum should have seen Butler and waited for him. There are 19 seconds on the shot clock when he throws that pass. The Celtics need to get better on the boards too. In advancing to the Conference Finals, Miami ranked ninth out of 16 playoff teams in points per game and averaged 107.1 per contest, according to But the Heat make teams pay when they expand ownership. Using the same time frame, Miami scored 15.6 points per game on second chance opportunities, the second-highest in the playoffs, according to As the Heat took control in the third quarter of Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals, they converted four offensive rebounds into nine points and helped them outperform Boston 39-14 during that period. The Celtics also need to play more disciplined defense against Jimmy Butler. Invade his airspace and he'll likely make contact to get to the free-throw line. In the series opener against Boston, Butler committed 18 fouls, 17 of them. So you end up with a game-high 41 points despite not making a three. On Wednesday, Daniel Theis said Boston needed to play Butler with more discipline and "get him to take hard shots," adding, "We can't save him and put him on the free-throw line." Regarding plays like the clip below, defenders have to keep their arms outstretched to avoid fouling Butler when he plows to the edge. The Celtics also can't go from 17 assists in the first half to four in the second, only one of which, you guessed it, came in the third quarter. The same goes for plays like the one below, as Tatum proves he didn't score in the suit in the last two frames. Fortunately for Boston, Yahoo Sports' Chris Haynes reports that Al Horford, who was added to the NBA's health and safety protocols on Tuesday, likely won't be back for Game 2 but the Celtics expect to have Marcus Smart for the matchup on Tuesday to have Thursday. Smart was unable to compete in the series opener due to a sprained right metatarsal. When the Celtics were hit by a Haymaker in the third quarter, they sorely missed the player they called the heart and soul of the team. Not to mention Butler relentlessly targeted Payton Pritchard for points for the Heat. If Smart is back on Thursday, Butler won't have that option available in the late game. Correcting those mistakes from Game 1 will put them in an advantageous position to tie the series en route to Boston. Celtics quickly scroll to crucial Game 2: "We just have to come together, fix the mistakes and be ready to fight" Jayson Tatum, Celtics discuss 39-14 third quarter win: "I have to lead better, I have to get into this one Playing better moments, and I'm just looking forward to responding, "What stood out from the Celtics' loss in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals: Heat seize control with Haymaker Marcus Smart in the third quarter." (Right metatarsal sprain), Al Horford (Health and Safety Protocols) Out for Game 1 against a more mature Celtics team, ready for familiar challenges from Heat in rematch Eastern Conference Finals 2020 Robert Williams available with no minute limit for Celtics-Heat Eastern Conference Finals


Celtics ready to bounce back after third quarter collapse in Game 1

Miami took advantage of the undermanned Celtics in the third quarter and now Boston needs a plan to come back strong in Game 2. (Author: Gardener)

third quarterDuring a brutal third quarter, the Celtics looked like a hitter who had feasted for weeks on pitching in the minor leagues only to get a comeuppance against the big league guns. After looking great as they swept the nets and knocked off the Bucks, the Celtics came out of halftime and watched the Heat smash an eight-point lead from Boston with breathtaking speed in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals Converted 17 points behind. The Celtics looked overwhelmed against a Miami team who previously had their number. Boston rallied to get it closer in the fourth game, but just after the break it was clear the Heat would win that game. The Heat continued in Game 1 with a 118-107 win over the Celtics, with Game 2 taking place in Miami on Thursday. Any reasons to worry about the Celtics, especially in Game 1, proved to be justified. Even if it was ugly at times, a loss wasn't that surprising. Playing without Marcus Smart (injury) and Al Horford (COVID-19 logs), the Celtics hit a wall in the second half after the brief turnaround after beating the Bucks in Sunday's Game 7. As good teams do, they aggressively tried to make up for the absence of their experienced starters. But as the well-rested Heat increased their intensity and physicality in the second half, the Celtics couldn't match them. Despite the loss, all was not bad for Boston. Robert Williams looked great in the first half, affecting the game at both ends with 18 points, nine rebounds and two blocks in his 28 minutes. He left the game with an injury in the fourth quarter. But if Coach Ime Udoka is right and it was just a spasm, he's likely to get better as the series progresses as he gets his rhythm back. Aaron Nesmith, who hadn't played any significant minutes since March, proved that when the Celtics need him they can give them a temporary boost of energy as well as athletic defense. Even if neither Smart nor Horford return for Game 2, with a little extra prep time the Celtics will be much better prepared to play without them. Jayson Tatum had 29 points and eight rebounds but was 1 for 7 from the floor with six turnovers in the second half as he looked as floored as anyone after the break. I need to lead better. I have to play better, especially in these moments," Tatum said. But I think over the course of a game, things happen and they move on. As the playoffs progressed, we did a great job responding to runs after a timeout, things like that. ... Just looking forward to answering the next game.” The Celtics got better from start to finish in the Brooklyn series. After each loss to Milwaukee, Boston changed and improved. This Celtics team has shown they can adapt. Udoka didn't expect that to change as his team prepared for Thursday's second game. "We did that all season, especially in the second half and in the playoffs." Jaylen Brown found some rhythm in the last 12 minutes (15 of his 24 points came in the fourth quarter), but by then it was too late, to play another role. "We're going to come out and play basketball," Brown said. “Most of the time we play good basketball. We do a good job of answering and answering runs for the most part. Give Miami credit; They outplayed us tonight, especially in the third quarter. "I have to get better. We have to be better, be more relaxed in this situation. We'll watch the film and we'll be back.” BOSTON COACH Ime Udoka was scheduled to speak to the media about availability on Wednesday morning, but the team said he was a late scratch due to a non-COVID illness. It's unclear at this point if the illness will affect Udoka's status as coach of Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Finals against the Heat.


If the Celtics want to rise, they need Tatum to break this bad habit

Jayson Tatum has become a true superstar in these playoffs, but if the Celtics are to get past the Heat in the Eastern Conference Finals, they need to change his personality on the court, writes John Tomase. (Author: Gardener)

TatumTucker's pouty, disinterested body language as a Raptors rookie in 2006 was so bad that before cutting him, management made him watch a compilation of how he'd behaved before, during, and after each game. "It was awful," Tucker said on J. A mixtape similar to this might be just what Jayson Tatum needs to see. The problem comes during games and this is where the Celtics star should make the biggest leap as he matures. He grabs his forearms for power because it's all a foul. When certain games go south, he hangs his head and neglects to get back on defense. During the regular season, these brief lapses are tolerable because the Celtics have been a buzz saw for the past three months. Tatum's body language didn't decide anything in Tuesday's Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals. The Miami Heat, a team both physically and mentally stronger, pushed their will against the tired and exhausted Celtics, breaking them with a 39-14 blitz in the third quarter en route to an easy win. The Celtics returned to some terrible habits, from lack of ball movement to poor rebounding to speeding up the game. They've clearly missed veteran stabilizers Marcus Smart and Al Horford, but there's no reason to think they won't bounce back with a more representative display in Game 2 on Thursday, especially now that they know what they're getting into. It's still worth noting that Tatum is doing himself and his team a disservice by letting his emotions dictate him, especially when contrasted with the steely calm of Heat superstar Jimmy Butler, who noted that he enjoys meeting people and sees, "who's going to stop first." After slamming the Heat en route to 21 points in the first half, Tatum ran into a brick wall. The Heat put Tucker in his grill, sending a second defender on him each time , when he crossed half the court and snuck into his passing lanes like Panthers Tatum turned it over six times in the third quarter resulting in easy bucket changes that ignited the crowd as part of an unfathomable 22-2 run Equally bad, he wore his emotions as loud as one of the late Craig Sager's old suits, repeatedly hurling himself unsuccessfully into triple teams in vain attempts to pull fouls while he spread and took himself out of the game at both ends. While Butler patiently assessed defenders and then made contact with his patented up-fakes, Tatum put the ball down with no plan other than to complain. Celtics Talk: Was Jimmy Butler motivated to prove he's the best player in Game 1 vs Jayson Tatum, Celtics? "We all dabbled a bit in this district whistling when they got physically active," said head coach Ime Udoka. "Rather than trying to make the right play, driving and kicking to get to the basket, we were looking for fouls and that led to some of those turnovers." Tatum's worst moment came when he was penalized for a loose-ball foul was whistled at, which left Bam Adebayo with his head on the ground. Tatum demonstratively demanded a replay and, in a stroke, twisted his finger on the Celtics bench. The theatrics looked nothing short of ridiculous as replays clearly showed him raking Adebayo across the face. This is the last area of ​​Tatum's game that needs to develop, and it will come. Before Butler could become this cold-blooded assassin, he clashed with several coaches and several teammates and shot himself right out of Minnesota. Less than two months ago, he was separated from the stalwart head coach Erik Spoelstra during a loss to the Warriors. He doesn't always check his feelings either. For all of Tatum's apparent size and rise to the premier league of NBA superstars, his reactions matter. His feelings matter. This is his team, just like the Heat belong to Butler. Tatum has proven time and time again this season that he's up to the task, including a scintillating 46-point performance against the Bucks to stave off last week's elimination. He could lead the Celtics to a title now, but he won't do it by waiting for the refs to save him or watching in despair as turnovers go the other way. The Nets couldn't stop him, the Bucks couldn't stop him, and neither will the Heat stop him as long as he stays out of his own way and lets his brilliant play speak for itself.


If any Celtics fans haven't respected the Heat this series, they should now

It's absurd to take solace in the fact that the Celtics "won" three-quarters on Tuesday night. Read the story at (Author: Gardener)

Celtics8 Takeaways as Heat beat undermanned Celtics in second half of Game 1 Bam Adebayo reiterated Jaylen Brown's "energy" quote after Heat's victory in Game 1 vs Game 2 Finals on Thursday night, can we get something straight first? It's absurd to take solace in the fact that the Celtics "won" three-quarters on Tuesday night. Absurd to the point that I can't believe the normally lucid Ime Udoka even acknowledged his team topping the heat in three of the four quarters as if it had some sort of relevance. The third quarter was such a massive debacle - the Heat left the Celtics in a smoldering heap and beat them 39-14 to turn an 8-point halftime deficit into a comfortable 17-point advantage - that it was all positive, what happened questions before or after. And it's not like the Celtics ripped it up in the fourth quarter either, despite beating the Heat 31-25. After reducing the Heat lead from 20 to 10, they couldn't stop when they needed one. As for the bigger picture...well, if for some reason you didn't respect the Heat that's coming into this series to the degree that you did Durant's Nets or Giannis' Bucks, I suppose that's changing changed, yes? Some of the names are different and some players have different roles, but the Heat was a reminder that they're just as tough, well-trained and relentless as they were two years ago when they dismantled a smaller Celtics team in the conference finals at the Orlando bubble . If anyone thought they were a No. 1 fluke, or at least a weaker one, Tuesday was a wake-up call, delivered with unabashed vigor this third quarter — and it was sly, cantankerous old Jimmy Butler who did most of the delivery took over . Butler scored his 41 points with ruthless old-school efficiency, knocking down 12 of 19 field goal attempts and 17 of 18 free throws with just two attempts (both misses) from 3-point territory. He's a player that's easy to dislike when he's playing against your team; He's an expert at baiting less-experienced players into making silly fouls and presents himself as an A++-level star among NBA stars, when realistically he's an A-minus as someone who plays in the MVP vote never finished higher than 10th place. Watching Butler systematically tear down the Celtics defense in the second half was a double reminder of just how far Jaylen Brown has to go. Brown finished with 24 points, 14 of which came from the fourth-quarter quasi-rally, but the standings belie how inefficient his performance was. He missed four free throws, got in trouble with his dribbling and was often late in defensive rotations. Now is the time to tighten up your game. As for the Celtics' best player, it all started so well for Jayson Tatum... and it's immensely frustrating how it ended. Tatum continued his exceptional game from the Bucks streak into the first half, scoring 21 points on 9-of-14 shooting. Tatum was involved in the third-quarter collapse more than anyone, turning the ball over six times, including on three straight possessions, as the Heat finished a 22-2 run to start the period. With the Celtics down just 6 points, he was pulled out by Max Strus, who took it the other way for a dunk; had a passport stolen by Butler which hit a turnaround jumper on the other end; then the ball was again brushed away by Butler, who converted a dunk. It was a stunningly sloppy sequence - the Heat clearly believe they can take advantage of the Celtics' casual to sloppy ball-handling habits - and it got worse when Tatum picked up on the officials again at the expense of the defense. Tatum is a wonderful player, now a true superstar, but that was perhaps the most embarrassing two-minute stretch of bad play and bad behavior of his career. If he wants to have the kind of respect from officials that Butler receives, he needs to stop nagging. None of this is meant to suggest that the Celtics are doomed in this series. They played well in the first half - I even won a couple of quarters from what I've heard - even without starters Marcus Smart (foot) and Al Horford (health and safety log), two players who almost certainly contributed would have calmed the situation down before the third quarter spiraled out of control. Robert Williams (18 points) looked like himself after missing the last four games of the Bucks series and that's a huge development. And the Heat saw excellent performances from players like Gabe Vincent (17 points), who are likely to be fickle as the series progresses. Stop banging into traffic and forcing one-on-three matches. Break up on defense and try your best to avoid Payton Pritchard switching to Butler. Respect the heat, but don't back down from it. The Celtics can still win that series and I still believe they will, provided Smart and Horford are back soon. The Celtics have the more talented team, but as The Heat reminded everyone in the third quarter, they're pretty adept at taking what they want.