Celtics make it look easy in Game 1 romp against Heat

BOSTON (AP) — Jayson Tatum notched his first career playoff triple-double with 23 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists to lead the Boston Celtics past the Miami Heat 114-94 on Sunday to open their first-round playoff series.

Derrick White added 20 points and four assists for Boston, which finished with six players in double-figures.

Miami spoiled the Celtics’ NBA finals dreams last season, jumping out to a 3-0 lead in the conference finals and then blowing them out in Boston in Game 7.

But Boston fed off the energy of the TD Garden crowd on Sunday, knocking down 22 3-pointers and outscoring the Heat 31-14 in the third quarter. The Celtics’ lead grew as high as 34 points in the fourth. Miami used a late run to get as close as 14, but Boston was able to close it out.

Including the regular season, Boston is 38-4 at home and has won its past four meetings with the Heat.

Bam Adebayo scored 24 points for the Miami, which played for the second straight game without star Jimmy Butler following his right knee injury during the play-in round. Terry Rozier also remained out with a neck injury. Delon Wright added 17 points. Jaime Jaquez Jr. finished with 16 points.

Game 2 is Wednesday in Boston.

Tempers flared in the final minute when Caleb Martin undercut Tatum on a rebound attempt and sent him crashing hard to floor. Brown got in Martin’s face afterward, leading to a brief scrum and double technical fouls on Brown and Martin.

Boston didn’t have reserve big man Luke Kornet after he strained his right calf in practice on Saturday. But the Celtics’ bench stepped up without him, contributing 30 points.

Sunday’s game had a completely different feel without Butler, whose postseason heroics keyed Miami’s run from play-in qualifier to the NBA finals a year ago.

Boston beat the Heat in all three regular-season meetings this season, including a 33-point drubbing in Miami.

Sunday’s game resembled that one, with the Celtics jumping on the Heat from the opening tap.

On the first possession of the game Tatum was stripped at the last second on a dunk attempt but corralled the loose ball and found Brown for a 3-pointer.

After a Miami miss, Brown followed that up with a drive and spin move past Jaime Jaquez Jr. for a two-handed dunk.

It was part of a 17-2 run by the Celtics over the first three-plus minutes. Miami started by missing its first four shots before Adebayo’s short jumper finally got the Heat on the scoreboard.


AP NBA: https://apnews.com/NBA

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