Miami Heat Defeat Boston Celtics, Take Commanding Lead in Eastern Conference Finals

The Boston Celtics are in deep, deep trouble. The two seed, the team with the best record of any team remaining in the playoffs, lost their second straight home game of the Eastern Conference Finals on Saturday night, falling to the Miami Heat 111-105.

Perhaps most troublingly, it didn't take any particularly dominant individual effort for the Heat to top the Celtics. Jimmy Butler led his team with 27 points on 12 of 25 field goal attempts, and Bam Adebayo hit a mere seven of 17 field goal attempts for 22 points. 

Still, the Heat came together as a team to snatch a devastating win. They outrebounded the Celtics 45 to 35 and snatched nine steals. They also benefitted from a couple key performances off the bench. Caleb Martin pitched in an essential 25 points on 11 of 16 from the field, and Duncan Robinson added 15 points on an efficient six of nine. At a time of year when teams typically shrink their rotations and push their stars to the brink, the Heat are threatening to make the Finals thanks to their depth.

As for the Celtics, they're running out of time and answers. Jayson Tatum was solid, compiling 34 points, 13 rebounds, and eight assists while sinking 10 of 20 from the field. Unfortunately, his supporting cast wilted in the bright lights. Jaylen Brown hit a meagre seven of 23 field goal attempts while totalling 16 points, and no other Celtic scored more than 13.

Now down 2-0 in the series, the Celtics now face the unenviable task of travelling to Miami for Game 3 and Game 4. They'll have to deliver the Heat their first home loss of the postseason just to stay alive, and then they'll need to win four of five. Needless to say, things are looking bleak in Boston.

The Heat host the Celtics for Game 3 on Sunday at 8:30 PM ET.

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