The Miami Heat are one win away from returning to the NBA Finals for the first time since 2014.
Taking Game 4 against the Boston Celtics puts the Heat in the driver's seat, leading 3-1 in the Eastern Conference Finals. Do the Celtics have a 3-1 comeback in them? We'll find out in Game 5.
For three things to watch in this potential series-clinching contest, we have you covered below.
Turnovers have finally started to catch up to the Celtics.
Boston lost the turnover battle in five of its seven games against the Toronto Raptors, yet it still didn't prevent the Celtics from reaching the Eastern Conference Finals. They even had 22 turnovers in Game 1 against the Raptors and still found a way to win that contest.
They got away with their carelessness through two rounds, but in the Conference Finals, the Heat have made sure to capitalize on those opportunities.
The Celtics have lost the turnover battle in three of their four games against the Heat. Boston's 20 turnovers in Game 2 - with seven in the third quarter to spark Miami's run that turned the game upside-down - cost it a chance at tying up the series. The Celtics were a little more careful in Game 3 to avoid going down 3-0, but that did not carry into Game 4.
With another chance to tie the series in Game 4, the Celtics were giving away possessions often. They turned the ball over 19 times to Miami's eight, and a good chunk of the giveaways came when it mattered most.
Boston had seven turnovers in the fourth quarter alone, something that cannot happen when you're already trying to mount a comeback. Those turnovers resulted in 11 points for the Heat, whereas Miami only had one turnover in the game's final frame.
The Celtics are averaging 15.8 turnovers per game in the Conference Finals compared to the Heat's 10.5 turnovers per game. Boston is going to have to be near-perfect to complete a 3-1 comeback, and it all starts with taking care of the ball.
How about the confidence of this 20-year-old rookie?
Tyler Herro played superhero in Game 4, erupting for 37 points to give his team a commanding 3-1 lead and place the Heat one win away from the NBA Finals. He completely took over the contest, scoring 17 points in the fourth quarter to put Boston's winning hopes to rest.
Herro entered a zone only one other rookie has ever reached in the postseason, coming just five points shy of Magic Johnson's record for most points (42) in a playoff game by a player 20 or younger. He did, however, become the youngest player to ever score 30-plus points off the bench in a playoff game AND broke Dwyane Wade's franchise record for most points scored by a rookie in a playoff game.
Does this look like a rook to you?@raf_tyler was deep in his bag last night- Miami HEAT (@MiamiHEAT) September 24, 2020
🔥🎥 #HEATHighlights pic.twitter.com/isDBgY4hhB
This wasn't just lightning in a bottle, either.
Herro has been an X-Factor off the bench for the Heat all playoffs and in this series in particular.
He nearly dropped a triple-double in their Game 1 win over Boston, going for 12 points, 11 rebounds and nine assists. He started to really catch fire in their Game 3 loss, scoring 22 points off the bench, and carried that momentum into Game 4 to ignite a historic performance.
Can the Celtics put an end to the rookie sensation's run or will Herro keep this going and help Miami return to the Finals?
Keep an eye on Tatum's first half
If Boston is going to keep its season alive, it's going to need All-Star forward Jayson Tatum to get going from the jump.
Tatum couldn't get anything to fall in the first half of Game 4, heading into halftime with zero points on 0-for-6 shooting from the field and 0-for-4 from 3-point range. Somehow, his team only trailed by six points despite his struggles, but the budding superstar flipped a switch in the second half to keep the Celtics in the game.
Tatum exploded for 28 points in the second half, shooting a much more characteristic 10-for-16 (62.5%) from the field and 4-for-7 (57.1%) from beyond the arc to give Boston a fighting chance, although it still came up short. The 22-year-old has been one of the best players in the NBA this postseason but his Game 4 first half put the Celtics behind the 8-ball for the remainder of the game.
"That's unacceptable," Tatum said of his first half performance following the loss. "I take a lot of blame. I didn't play like myself in the first half."
"We gotta be better," he continued. "We know what's at stake. We know what's on the line. We've got to play a complete game. It's win or go home time."
Best-case scenario for Boston is that Tatum's hot hand carries into Game 5, but if the Celtics are going to claw back into this series, it's going to take a productive four quarters from their go-to guy.
Where one more loss could end the Celtics' title hopes, expect to see the very best version of their franchise player from the start of Game 5.
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