NBA: Celtics beat Heat in Game 4, take 3-1 lead in East playoff series

NBA: Celtics beat Heat in Game 4, take 3-1 lead in East playoff series

The Boston Celtics have taken full control of their Eastern Conference playoff first-round matchup over the Miami Heat after a 102-88 win at Kaseya Center on Monday night put the top-seeded side in the driving seat in the series.

The Celtics, who have now kept the Heat to under 90 points in their last two games, currently have a 3-1 lead in the series after winning for the sixth consecutive time on the road in Miami.

Boston was propelled by Derrick White’s brilliant playoff career-high performance of 38 points. He had four rebounds as well as a game-high three blocks and shot 15-of-26 from the field and 8-of-15 from 3-point range.

“I made a couple shots early,” said White, who had 16 points in the first quarter. “That always helps. Once you make a couple, the basket looks huge.”

Jayson Tatum added 20 points and 10 rebounds for the Celtics, who got 17 points and five rebounds from Jaylen Brown, 11 points from Jrue Holiday, and seven points from Kristaps Porzingis, who left the arena in a protective boot, having suffered a right calf injury that forced him off in the first half.

Boston garnered a 22-point lead heading into the final quarter; they forced Miami to shoot just 27.3% on threes and outrebounded them 46-42, especially on the offensive end with 11-8.

The Celtics immaculate defense stifled the Heat all through the tie, and it was evident as it forced the home side to 13 turnovers, which helped Boston have a 16-8 advantage on fast break points.

Bam Adebayo finished with 25 points, 17 rebounds, and five assists for the Heat, who played again without the injured duo of Jimmy Butler (knee) and Terry Rozier (neck).

Tyler Herro scored 19 points and Caleb Martin added 18 for Miami, whose rookie Jamie Jaquez Jr. departed the second half with leg tightness.

“Offensively, we struggled again,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. “We had some decent looks early on, weren’t able to knock those down, and Derrick White was very good tonight – obviously. … He was just very efficient, very good.”

Miami played in front of a sellout crowd, which had World Cup winner and Argentine football star Lionel Messi in attendance alongside his Inter Miami teammates – Luis Suarez, Jordi Alba and Sergio Busquets, but they are on the verge of a gentleman sweep by the Celtics if they fail to win Game 5 in Boston.

The Celtics, who improved to 14-3 in their last 17 games on the Heat’s home floor, have history on their side in closeout games, as they have won all 28 previous series in which they’ve taken a 3-1 lead.

The 17-time NBA champions can advance to the second round of the Eastern Conference playoffs with a win at TD Garden on Wednesday, and if they clinch the victory, they will meet the winner of the series between the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Orlando Magic in the East semifinals.

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