Boston Celtics

Celtics-Heat takeaways: C's thrive from 3 in dominant Game 1 win

Each Celtics player attempted at least four 3-pointers in the 114-94 victory.

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BOSTON -- The Celtics' 2024 playoff run couldn't have gotten off to a much better start.

The raucous TD Garden crowd was treated to a dominant Celtics win in Game 1 of their Eastern Conference first-round series vs. the Miami Heat. It was a wire-to-wire victory that began with Boston on a 14-0 run. Although the Heat cut that deficit to five by the end of the quarter, it was all C's from that point on.

The Celtics pulled away and led by as many as 34 points in their 114-94 win. It was a balanced effort as six of their eight players to appear in the game scored in double figures. Jayson Tatum and Derrick White led the way with 23 and 20 points, respectively.

With Jimmy Butler (knee) and Terry Rozier (neck) out for Miami, Bam Adebayo notched a team-high 24 points.

Game 2 at TD Garden is set for Wednesday at 7 p.m. ET on NBC Sports Boston. Coverage begins at 6 p.m. with Celtics Pregame Live.

First, here are three takeaways from Game 1.

Live by the 3, die by the 3

The Celtics have leaned heavily on 3-point shooting throughout their historic 2023-24 campaign, so why stop now?

Boston let it rip from beyond the arc early and often in Game 1. The team attempted 18 3-pointers in the opening frame compared to just four deep attempts for Miami. For the first half, the Celtics went 12-for-30 from 3 while the Heat shot just 3-for-14 from deep. A whopping 30 of the C's first-half field goal attempts came from 3-point range.

Celtics head coach Joe Mazzulla didn't switch strategies in the second half. Boston picked up where it left off and shot 10-for-19 from 3 in the second half to finish 22-for-49 (44.9 percent) -- tying the franchise record for 3-point makes in a playoff game. Miami, meanwhile, was a less-than-stellar 12-of-37 (32.4 percent).

Seven of the eight Celtics players to play in Sunday's game made multiple 3-pointers. All of them attempted at least four.

Both Kristaps Porzingis (18 points) and Derrick White (20 points) were 4-of-8 from deep. Sam Hauser was 4-of-6 off the bench.

Jayson Tatum does it all

Tatum played a key role in the Celtics' scorching start to Game 1, but it wasn't just his scoring that made an impact.

The five-time All-Star did a bit of everything to provide a spark in the first half. According to Celtics stats guru Dick Lipe, he became the second C's player in the play-by-play era to record at least five points and five assists in the opening quarter of a playoff game.

Tatum finished the half with 15 points, eight rebounds, and six assists. He and 2008 NBA champion Rajon Rondo are the only Celtics in the play-by-play era to reach those numbers in the first half of a playoff game.

The Heat quickly learned to double-team Tatum at their own risk. The 26-year-old has greatly improved in the playmaking department this season, and he has taken advantage of the C's having several other offensive weapons at their disposal.

Tatum led Boston in points (23), rebounds (10) and assists (10) for his first career playoff triple-double.

The only blemish on Tatum's stat sheet was his 1-for-8 performance from 3-point range. Oddly, he was the only Celtic to not make multiple 3s. That didn't matter as he set his teammates up for success from beyond the arc.

The "Stay Ready" group is playoff-ready

The Celtics' bench was an underrated piece of the team's success throughout its historic regular season. Sharpshooters Payton Pritchard and Sam Hauser, in particular, have come up big on Boston's quest for Banner 18.

The second unit, which has earned the "Stay Ready" group moniker, proved on Sunday afternoon that it's ready for primetime.

Pritchard started hot with two 3-pointers in the opening frame. He finished the first half with eight points while dishing four assists.

Hauser caught fire in the second quarter, drilling four consecutive 3-pointers.

Pritchard and Hauser combined for 20 first-half points. They finished a combined 7-for-13 from the field and 6-for-11 from deep. Although they were quiet in the second half, their first-half performance helped Boston take control of the game early.

Al Horford, the veteran leader of the "Stay Ready" group, finished with 10 points and seven boards. The 37-year-old was 4-of-8 from the floor (2-5 3-PT).

Boston's bench was a weakness in previous playoff runs. That doesn't appear to be the case this time around, and that alone should strike fear in the rest of the Eastern Conference.

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