Three Takeaways From Miami’s Come-From-Behind Game 2 Win Over Boston

The Boston Celtics led by as many as 17 points in the first half on Thursday evening, seemingly putting themselves in a fantastic position to even the Eastern Conference Finals against the Miami Heat. It was not meant to be for the Celtics, however, as the Heat charged back, regained control and picked up a 106-101 victory to zoom to a 2-0 series lead.

With that as the backdrop, here are three takeaways from the action.

1. Game 2 was full of runs and Miami made the last one

NBA games are often chock full of runs and this was no exception. In fact, this was a contest marked by its runs.

First, the Celtics took control in the first half. Boston started the game with hot shooting, knocking down 12-of-18 shots in the first quarter. From there, the Celtics used a 21-11 run to take a 13-point lead midway through the second quarter, helped by the surprising contributions of Enes Kanter.

Boston led by as many as 17 points in the first half, and Kemba Walker led the way with 14 points (on 6-of-10 shooting), five rebounds, two assists, one steal and one block before the break.

Miami had a counterpunch prepared, though, and it arrived midway through the third quarter with a 15-2 run. Things were kickstarted by Bam Adebayo, with a four-point play from Jae Crowder and a banked-in three-pointer from Kelly Olynyk.

The Heat weren’t done there, closing the third quarter on a 27-8 overall run and seemingly taking control of the festivities. Of course, the Celtics wouldn’t die, with a 15-2 run of their own to grab a 94-89 lead with four minutes remaining. Still, Miami had the last laugh, and a ridiculous defensive effort from Jimmy Butler helped to spur their final push.

All told, it was a 13-1 run by Miami in crunch time, flipping a deficit into a 102-95 lead in short order. Things did get a little bit dicey for the Heat in the final seconds, thanks in large part to back-to-back threes from Jaylen Brown, but the Heat managed to hold on and, in the process, the pre-series underdogs assumed command with a 2-0 lead.

2. Goran Dragic and Duncan Robinson made all the shots

As noted above, Butler made big plays in crunch time and, in general, Miami’s leader did what he needed to do. However, it wasn’t an especially prolific night from the All-Star wing, with just 14 points on 4-of-11 shooting. In addition, it was an uneven night from Tyler Herro (4-of-12 from the floor and 1-of-8 from three) but, fortunately, the Heat could rely on Dragic and Robinson.

Early in the game, it was Robinson getting on track after a rough Game 1. The sharpshooting wing connected on his first three attempts from long distance (in just four minutes) and Robinson knocked down 4-of-6 from three-point range in the first quarter.

He did slow down from there, but Robinson finished with 18 points in 32 minutes, knocking down six triples and putting constant pressure on Boston’s defense. Elsewhere, Dragic continued his absolutely stellar play from the postseason.

The veteran guard finished the night with an efficient 25 points (on 10-of-19 shooting) and five assists, making big play after big play with the game on the line. In fact, it was Dragic that ultimately converted the would-be dagger, stretching Miami’s lead to five and swinging things in their favor in a way that Boston was unable to match.

Dragic didn’t have the same kind of decisive advantage against his counterpart, Kemba Walker, in Game 2 that he did in Game 1. However, Dragic held up his end of the bargain, and the Heat needed every bit of the perimeter-based contributions from Robinson and Dragic on this night.

3. Bam Adebayo was absurd, particularly in the third quarter

The Heat were completely dominant in the third quarter. Miami outscored Boston by 20 points in the period and, in forcing seven turnovers, the Heat sped the Celtics up in a way that was exceptionally fruitful for the team that ended up winning the game. There was plenty of credit to assign but, in that quarter, Adebayo was the best player on the floor.

The All-Star big man scored 15 points on 7-of-8 shooting in just 9:14 of court time in the quarter, using his athleticism and force to make things difficult on the opposition.

Adebayo, who is also well-known for his defensive prowess, added a block and steal in the third quarter and, overall, he finished with 21 points, 10 rebounds, four assists, two steals and a block in the game. It isn’t a surprise that Adebayo is the best big man in this series but, on a night when Daniel Theis provided very little for the Celtics (in a game in which he finished -15 in 32 minutes), the star-level impact of Adebayo stood out.

This is a series that is far from over, even as the Heat assume a 2-0 lead and force the Celtics to win four of the next five games to execute a comeback win. Still, this was a pivotal win for Miami, and it was on-brand in that the Heat received high-level contributions from all over the roster and made every play when it mattered.