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The Eastern Conference Finals has rolled out with some bizarre statistical twists. Going into Game 4, the Miami Heat held a 2-1 lead despite outscoring the Celtics in just two of the 12 quarters that had been played so far.
The Celtics were able to even the series with a 20-point blowout win that, in and of itself, extended another outlier — it’s been nearly two weeks since the NBA had a playoff game that wasn’t a blowout.
But that wasn’t the only weird statistical quirk from Game 4. The Celtics’ defense smothered the Heat and created a few more bizarre outliers along the way.
Boston Celtics starters outscore the Miami Heat starters 73-18
In case, you don’t have a calculator handy that’s essentially a 4-to-1 ratio. Jayson Tatum scored 31, Derrick White scored 13, Jaylen Brown and Robert Williams each scored 12 and Al Horford scored 5. For the Heat, Bam Adebayo scored 9, Jimmy Butler scored 6, Kyle Lowry scored 3 and both P.J. Tucker and Max Strus were held scoreless.
The Celtics managed this remarkable disparity despite some pretty disastrous shooting numbers. Tatum was 8-of-16 from the field but the rest of the starters were 14-of-41 from the field and all five together were 4-of-22 on 3-pointers.
The shooting percentages were as ugly as you’d expect for the Heat starters — 7-of-36 from the field and 1-of-10 from beyond the arc. The 18 points managed by the Heat starters were the lowest total in a playoff game since starters and bench players were first tracked.
It took the Heat almost nine minutes to make their first shot
The Heat made their first basket of the game — a 3-pointer by Victor Oladipo — with 3:22 left in the first quarter. At that point, the team had missed 14 consecutive shots and already trailed by 17 points. According to ESPN, this was the largest drought to begin a playoff game in 25 years.
Jayson Tatum made more free throws than the Heat attempted
Tatum’s 31 points came primarily at the free-throw line where he finished 14-of-16, singlehandedly outdoing the Heat wh finished 8-of-14. The overall free-throw edge for the Celtics was one of the reasons they were able to turn this into a blowout despite struggling from the field themselves. As a team, the Celtics went 32-of-36 at the line. That was more than the difference considering the Heat made six more 3-pointers and only made one fewer shot from the field, overall.
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