);
Playoffs 2020

NBA Playoffs 2020: Jayson Tatum's 30 points not enough as Boston Celtics fall to Miami Heat in Game 1

jayson-tatum-091520-ftr-getty.jpg
Jayson Tatum (NBA Getty Images)

Well, the Eastern Conference Finals sure got off with a bang.

Despite another huge game from Jayson Tatum, the Miami Heat defeated the Boston Celtics in overtime to take a 1-0 series lead. Goran Dragic led the Heat with 29 points, but Jae Crowder (22), Jimmy Butler (20), Bam Adebayo (18) and Tyler Herro (12) each scored in double figures for Miami.

Herro also came close to a triple-double, recording 11 rebounds and nine assists to go along with his 12 points.

For more on the game, here are some quick observations...

1. The Celtics throw the first punch

Game 1 was all Celtics to begin with.

After one quarter to play, the Celtics were up 26-18 on the strength of some hot shooting and lockdown defence.

Marcus Smart led the way for the Celtics with 10 first-quarter points, but they shot 10-for-21 from the field and 4-for-9 from 3-point range as a team.

On the other end, it was a struggle for the Heat, as they missed 16 of their 22 shot attempts, including six of their nine 3-point attempts. According to ESPN, it made for the lowest scoring first quarter for the Heat in these playoffs.

Entering the second quarter, PointsBet gave the Celtics a 68.3% chance of winning the game.

2. Marcus Smart is on another planet right now

Scoring 10 first-quarter points is one thing.

Attacking Bam Adebayo in isolation and draining a midrange pull-up over him is another.

Need you be reminded, Adebayo made the All-Defensive Second Team this season and might be the switchiest centre in the league. For Smart to even think about doing that against him shows you how confident he is. (I was going to say how confident he is right now, but who are we kidding, Smart is always confident).

3. Making shots sure helps

The score at the half: 55-55.

So ... what changed after the first quarter? A couple of things.

First, the Heat settled in. They went from not being able to make a shot in the first quarter to making everything in the second quarter.

No, seriously.

After scoring 18 points on 6-for-22 in the first quarter, the Heat scored 37 points on 15-for-22 shooting in the second. It was a balanced attack - eight different players scored in the second quarter, including Andre Iguodala and Kelly Olynyk off the bench - but it was Dragic who led the charge with 11 points.

Second, the Heat switched things up by going to a zone.

It's not something we've seen much from the Heat in the season restart, but they played a lot of zone in the regular season. It was only a matter of time until they went to it - you best believe Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra took note of Boston struggling to score against Toronto's zone in the previous round. According to Matt Moore of The Action Network, the Celtics entered this game averaging 0.77 points per possession against zone this playoffs, which ... isn't good.

Boston actually had success against Miami's zone in the second quarter, but a lot of the damage the Celtics did against it came after the Heat had gotten back in the game and taken the lead. It felt a lot more effective than the numbers might suggest.

The second half was the same story by the way - a quarter in which the Heat missed everything followed by one in which they made everything.

Weird game for the Heat.

4. We don't talk enough about Bam Adebayo's passing

Having a centre who can do things like this is such a luxury:

Adebayo created 13.6 points per game with his assists during the regular season, the second-highest rate at the centre position behind only Nikola Jokic.

His passing ability was on full display in Miami's high-scoring second quarter, as he assisted on five of the team's 15 baskets.

5. We probably don't talk about about Bam Adebayo's defence either

Going back to the whole Adebayo "might be the switchiest centre in the league" thing, how many centres would you trust guarding Kemba Walker on an island?

Adebayo headlines a very short list of players who can legitimately guard all five positions.

6. Jayson Tatum, doing superstar things

There's, uhh, not much that can be done to stop this:

Tatum's growth as an off the dribble shooter is remarkable. According to Kirk Goldsberry of ESPN, Tatum made 30.7 percent of his unassisted 3-pointers last season. This season? 41.1 percent, the best rate among players with at least 100 attempts.

In total, Tatum made 117 unassisted 3s, putting him behind only James Harden (285), Damian Lillard (204), Trae Young (148) and Luka Doncic (117) for most in the league.

When Tatum is knocking those down in addition to doing things like this...

...and this...

...you get nights like this, where he leads all scorers with 30 points.

Tatum made history in the process. He now has 21 20-point games in his postseason career, the fourth-most ever by a player under the age of 23. The only players ahead of him? Kobe Bryant (32), LeBron James (29) and Derrick Rose (22).

That's pretty good company for Tatum to be in.

7. The Heat love crunch time

With 1:09 to go in the fourth quarter, the Celtics were in the driver's seat with a 105-100 lead following a floater by Walker.

Here's what happened on the next three possessions:

  • Herro knocks down a 3-pointer with 1:02 remaining.
  • Crowder comes up with a huge stop on Walker in isolation, forcing a shot clock violation with 39 seconds remaining.
  • Butler hits a 3-pointer with 22 seconds remaining, giving the Heat a one point lead.

The problem for the Heat was Derrick Jones Jr. committed a foul away from the play on the in-bounds on the ensuing possession, leading to a free throw and possession for the Celtics. Tatum made the free throw to tie the game, but his 3-pointer came up short, resulting in some free basketball.

8. Overtime was basketball nirvana

First, there was this shot by Walker:

Followed by this 3-point play by Butler:

Followed by this block by Adebayo that sent Basketball Twitter into a frenzy:

Yup, this series is going to be a good one.

9. What's next

Game 2 is on Friday at 4:30 a.m. IST.

Based on how entertaining Game 1 was, you won't want to miss it.

The views on this page do not necessarily reflect the views of the NBA or its clubs.

More from NBA.com

KDurant
NBA Soundsystem: The start of the 2020-21 season is here
NBA.com Staff
#Noah
Report: Noah 'likely headed towards retirement'
Yash Matange
hayes-doumbouya-ftr-12012020-nbae-gettyimages
Hayes, Doumbouya headline Detroit's future
Gilbert McGregor
#HayesGriffin
Will Pistons reap the rewards of a busy offseason?
Yash Matange
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar
OTD: Kareem passes Robertson on all-time scoring list
Yash Matange
kemba-walker-12012020-ftr-nbae-gettyimages
Kemba (knee) to miss start of season
Gilbert McGregor
More News