The Boston Celtics suffered an unexpected loss to the Miami Heat in the first game of the Eastern Conference finals. They had established a comfortable lead by halftime, but it was all downhill from there as they ended up losing by seven points.
After the game, players and coach Joe Mazzulla spoke about what went wrong in the second half. Jaylen Brown admitted that the team lacked intensity and played with a "too cool" attitude, which he believed was unacceptable for a high-stakes game like the Eastern Conference finals. He called on himself and his teammates to play better in Game 2, both individually and as a team. In the first half, the Celtics had dominated the paint and taken good care of the ball. However, in the second half, Miami came out stronger and more focused, limiting the Celtics' opportunities and taking advantage of their mistakes. The Heat also shot well from beyond the arc, making 16 of their 31 attempts from three-point range.
Marcus Smart stressed the need for increased physicality and better defense, stating that the Celtics needed to be more aggressive and focused if they wanted to win. He supported Mazzulla's decision not to call any timeouts during the third quarter, saying that the players needed to take responsibility for their own mistakes and work together to make the necessary adjustments. In the fourth quarter, the Celtics' offense faltered, failing to make a field goal for over four minutes. Smart attributed this to the players feeling "antsy" and trying too hard to make plays individually instead of working together. Jayson Tatum, who had been a big contributor earlier in the game, didn't take a single shot in the final quarter and made several costly turnovers.
Moving forward, the Celtics will need to regroup and refocus if they hope to turn the series around. They'll need to play with more intensity and physicality, tighten up their defense, and work together more effectively on offense. With the series now poised at 1-0 in favor of Miami, the Celtics can't afford to let their guard down and need to come out stronger in the next game.