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Playoffs 2020

NBA Playoffs 2020: Seven observations from the Miami Heat's thrilling Game 2 comeback win over the Boston Celtics

The Miami Heat refuse to give up. Despite being down by as many as 17 points in Game 2, they still come out victorious courtesy of a huge third quarter. The 17 points is tied for the largest comeback margin in the franchise's playoff history.

As a result, they improve their league-best postseason record to 10-1. Six different players finished in double figures for Miami led by Goran Dragic's 25 points on 11-of-19 shooting.

For the Celtics, three players scored at least 21 points - Kemba Walker, Jaylen Brown, and Jayson Tatum but despite big plays down the stretch, they couldn't recover from their letdown in the third quarter.

Here are some key observations from this game:

1. Kemba's early aggressive play

The recent struggles of Celtics' All-Star point guard have been well documented.

In the three previous games, Walker was averaging 12.7 points on 28.3% shooting from the field and 13.6 from beyond the arc. This game, however, he came out firing especially in the first half.

Playing 14 minutes in the first half, he finished with 14 points (6-10 FGs), five rebounds, two assists, and was a +10. He finished with a team-high 23 points (9-19 FGs) while also recording seven rebounds, three assists, and two steals.

2. Duncan Robinson was red-hot early

Boston started the game on fire, shooting 12-of-18 from the field for 28 points in the first quarter, 21 of which came from the trio fo Walker, Tatum, and Marcus Smart on a combined 8-of-10 shooting from the field.

On the other hand, shots weren't falling for the Heat, except for Duncan Robinson. The Heat shot 9-of-26 from the field in the first quarter and four of those field goals came from Robinson. All of those came from beyond the arc for all of his 12 first-half points.

His quick spark early allowed Miami to absorb Boston's run.

3. Kanter, Wanamaker provide spark in 2nd

With Gordon Hayward out, the Celtics depth has been challenged in the last few games. In this one, they got some much-needed production from their bench duo during the second quarter.

Boston outscored Miami 29-19 in the second quarter, 13 (5-6 FGs) of which came from Enes Kanter and Brad Wanamaker.

For the game, the duo finished with a combined 16 points (6-7 FGs), eight rebounds, and two assists.

4. Heat turn it around in the 3rd

Multiple Miami players starred in the third quarter as they turned this game on its head by outscoring Boston 37-17 in the period. Their All-Star big man Bam Adebayo led the way, while their starting guards in Goran Dragic and Duncan Robinson also chipped in, by combining for 13 in the period.

The Heat turned a 13-point halftime deficit into a seven-point third quarter lead, overwhelming the Celtics on both sides of the floor.

Their 37 points came on 14-of-24 (58.3%) shooting from the field and 5-of-12 from beyond the arc, while turning the ball over just twice. On defense, they held the Celtics to just 17 points on 4-of-12 (33.3%) shooting from the field and seven turnovers.

This game is the first time in playoff franchise history that the Heat have outscored an opponent by 20 in the third quarter.

5. Miami's zone defense

After the Celtics' strong first half on the offensive end, the Heat turned to their trusted zone defense, cutting the offense off at every turn, with active hands in the passing lanes.

Miami showed off this defense frequently during the regular season and pulled it off at a crucial point in their Eastern Conference Finals series.

6. Vets ice the game

It was a back-and-forth contest for much of the fourth quarter after the Heat gave away an early eight-point lead, but not for the first time these playoffs, the Heat win a game in the clutch.

Veterans Goran Dragic and Jimmy Butler scored or assisted on 19 of the team's 22 points.

7. Up next

At a stage like the Conference Finals, a 2-0 series lead is a commanding advantage. It's been overcome just six times in NBA history. Can the Celtics make it seven?

That comeback will start with a win in Game 3, which is scheduled for Sunday, Sept., 20th at 6:00 a.m. IST.

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

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