Jayson Tatum has underlined the Boston Celtics need to enter Game 5 versus the Miami Heat with a must-win mentality as he has warned his teammates that the Heat will take the advantage if they fail to match their energy.
The Celtics made a slow start to Game 3 as the Heat opened a big lead and won the game to take a 2-1 lead in the series. On Monday night in Game 4, the Celtics entered the game with a much better intensity and energy and it paid off as they won 102-82 to level the series to two wins apiece.
Going into Game 5, Tatum insists the Celtics can't allow themselves to have another performance similar to the one they had in Game 3. "It's kind of like a new series, best of three," Tatum said, per ESPN. "I think just having a conversation that I think human nature plays a part in, when you win a game, you can relax a little bit.
But obviously, when we lose a game, we feel like the next game is do or die, and then we come out and play like we did and things like that. "I think we have to have that mindset going into Game 5 that it is a must-win game, because tonight was essentially something like that.
Everybody knew it. We could all feel it. I think that showed in the way we came out."
Tatum came up big for the Celtics
The Celtics needed Tatum to step up in Game 4 and he did exactly that as he scored a game-high 31 points.
The Heat scored 109 points in Game 3 but were limited to just 82 points in Game 4. After the game, Celtics center Robert Williams explained what changed defensively for the Celtics compared to Game 3. "Covering for each other, being in our spots, being where we were supposed to be," Williams said.
"Last game, even though I didn't play, I noticed the slip-ups that we had on the defensive end, and that's where we hang our hat at. "As far as energywise, the loss played a big part of the energy going into this game." The Celtics delivered a defensive clinic in Game 4 and it helped them clinch a routine win.
"For everybody, the focus was great tonight," Celtics coach Ime Udoka said. "We understood we have to be more aggressive and physical on the defensive end."