Marcus Smart and Al Horford return as Boston Celtics demolish Miami Heat in East Finals Game 2

Marcus Smart was one rebound shy of a triple-double as the Boston Celtics beat the Miami Heat 127-102 in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Finals.

After missing the Game 1 defeat, Ime Udoka was delighted to welcome back two starters in the form of Marcus Smart and Al Horford. Their absence was notable on Tuesday, and their return was even more noticeable on Thursday as they absolutely dominated their hosts in Game 2 of the East Finals.

Celtics started hot and showed that they were not demoralised from their defeat in Game 1, pouring 35 points in both the first and second quarter. Their 70 points scored at the half was the most Boston have scored in an opening 24 minutes in the post-season since 1990 and excluding Bubble games, was their largest half-time lead in a road playoff game in franchise history.

Jaylen Brown's contested deep three in the second set the tone for the Celtics as Jayson Tatum dropped 20 in the opening half. This was a huge bounce-back performance from Udoka's men. Boston had 12 threes at the half on 63 per cent shooting.

Despite being up 25 at the half, the Celtics did not let up. Early in the third, Smart landed a huge floater and went to the line after being fouled.

Jimmy Butler was doing his best to take over and gnaw at the deficit, but it was not enough despite his game-high 29 points.

Smart continued his impressive game and was one rebound shy of a triple-double, dropping 24 points, 9 boards and 12 assists, on top of three steals and a block. He also had a lovely ankle-breaker on Max Strus, who hit the deck after a crossover from the Defensive Player of the Year.

Both the third and fourth quarter finished as a draw, with both teams scoring 26 and 31 as the Celtics refused to let Miami get back into it.

The heavy defeat was the Heat's first loss at home this post-season.

Tatum dropped 27 points, two short of Butler, meanwhile, Brown had 24 and Grant Williams had 19. Six Celtics dropped double-digit points with Payton Pritchard and Horford also chipping in with 10 points. The second-highest scorer for the Heat had 14 points (Victor Oladipo and Gabe Vincent).

Game 3 will take place at the TD Garden on Saturday evening.

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