Heat offense struggles again, Jaquez hurt and other takeaways from Game 4 loss to Celtics

Five takeaways from the eighth-seeded Miami Heat’s 102-88 loss to the top-seeded Boston Celtics on Monday night at Kaseya Center in Game 4 of their first-round playoff series. The Celtics now lead the best-of-7 series, 3-1, and will look to end the Heat’s season in Game 5 on Wednesday in Boston (7:30 p.m., Bally Sports Sun and TNT):

Celtics beat Heat, go up 3-1 in playoff series. Poor 3-point shooting again dooms Miami

The Heat’s offense simply hasn’t had enough to compete with the Celtics in this series.

The Heat’s offense was below average in the regular season, finishing with the NBA’s 21st-ranked offensive rating.

Now without top offensive weapons Jimmy Butler and Terry Rozier because of injuries, the Heat’s offense has been even worse in the first round of the playoffs.

Those struggles continued in Game 4, as the Heat totaled just 88 points on 40.7 percent shooting from the field and 9-of-33 (27.3 percent) shooting from three-point range while committing 15 turnovers in Monday’s loss.

“Offensively, we struggled again,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said.

It was especially rough in the second quarter, when the Heat recorded just 12 points on 5-of-22 (22.7 percent) from the field and 1-of-7 (14.3 percent) shooting from behind the arc.

With that low-scoring period, the Heat entered halftime with just 36 points. It marked Miami’s second-lowest scoring half of the season, behind only a 31-point first half in a Jan. 15 win over the Brooklyn Nets.

Those offensive issues were enough for the Celtics to build a 17-point lead entering halftime.

But the Heat’s offense problem continued after halftime, as the Heat missed 11 of its first 15 field goals in the third quarter to stand at 20 of 60 (33.3 percent) from the field and 4 of 23 (17.4 percent) from three-point range for the game midway through the third quarter.

The Celtics’ lead grew to as many as 28 points in the second half. The Heat made a late run to trim the deficit to 13 with 5:22 to play, but that’s the closest Miami got.

Bam Adebayo (25 points on 11-of-22 shooting from the field and 1-of-3 shooting on threes, 17 rebounds and five assists), Tyler Herro (19 points on 8-of-17 shooting from the field and 2-of-6 shooting on threes, four rebounds and four assists) and Caleb Martin (18 points on 6-of-14 shooting from the field and 4-of-8 shooting on threes, five rebounds and two assists) combined for 62 points on 47.2 percent shooting from the field and 41.2 percent shooting on threes in the loss.

But the rest of the Heat’s roster combined to total just 26 points on 10-of-33 (30.3 percent) shooting from the field and 2-of-16 (12.5 percent) shooting on threes on Monday.

“We got to play with confidence,” Martin said. “I feel like we’re getting a couple open looks. It’s also attention to detail with spacing, getting into certain things on that side of the ball that get us easier looks.”

The Heat has been held under 100 points in three of the four games during the series and has scored fewer than 90 points in two straight games. After setting a new franchise record for threes made in a playoff game with 23 three-point makes in its Game 2 win in Boston, the Heat has shot 18 of 61 (29.5 percent) from behind the arc in Games 3 and 4.

The Celtics’ prolific offense wasn’t great either on Monday, scoring 102 points on 41.9 percent shooting from the field. But Boston outscored Miami 42-27 from three-point range and 16-9 from the foul line to earn its third double-digit win of the series.

Derrick White set a new career-high with 38 points for the Celtics in Game 4. He shot 8 of 15 on threes.

“Our guys are battling,” Spoelstra said. “I know it’s tough to recognize that if you see the score like this. But our guys are putting everything out there, everything. There’s not a ton left in the tank in terms of defensively. We do need to put some points on the board. We’re not going to hold this team to 70.”

As if the Heat’s injury issues weren’t bad enough, rookie Jaime Jaquez Jr. exited Game 4 early.

Jaquez, who has started in place of the injured Butler in the series, left Monday’s loss with 1:19 left in the third quarter and did not return because of a right hip injury. He said after the game that he’s “day-to-day.”

“I felt something give in the beginning of the third quarter going up for a rebound,” Jaquez said. “I tried to get back in there and try to give it everything I had.”

Jaquez added that his hip is “sore” and “tight.” He wasn’t sure if an MRI or X-ray would be necessary for the injury.

Before leaving Game 4 early, Jaquez totaled nine points on 4-of-10 shooting from the field and 0-of-2 shooting on threes, two rebounds, two assists, one steal and one block in 22 minutes.

Without Jaquez in the fourth quarter, reserve guards Patty Mills and Delon Wright played the entire final period.

If Jaquez is forced to miss Game 5, the depleted Heat will be even more short-handed. Miami is already missing Butler (right knee MCL sprain), Rozier (neck spasms) and Josh Richardson (right shoulder surgery) in the series.

The Heat will issue its injury report for Game 5 on Tuesday afternoon.

The Heat again attempted to play Kevin Love and Duncan Robinson, but they again were ineffective in Game 4.

After playing just one four-minute stint in Game 3 because of matchup concerns against the Celtics, the Heat again tried to play Love in his usual spot in the rotation in Game 4. But the results again were not good.

Love entered Monday’s game with 6:13 left in the first quarter before being quickly subbed out a few minutes later with 4:29 left in the opening period. The Heat was outscored by seven points during Love’s two-minute stint, continuing an unfortunate series-long trend for Love.

Love again entered the game for his second and final stint of the night at the start of the fourth quarter, playing the first 4:41 of the period.

Love finished Game 4 scoreless, missing both of his three-point attempts, in six minutes of action.

The Heat has now been outscored by 29 points in the 30 minutes that Love has played during the series.

The main reason for Love’s negative minutes during the first round of the playoffs has been defense. The Heat has been forced to play zone with Love on the court and the Celtics’ three-point shooting has shredded the Heat’s zone throughout the series.

As for Robinson, he has been limited by a lingering back injury this series. He played just one short stint in Game 4, finishing the loss scoreless while taking just one three-point attempt.

After shooting 39.5 percent on seven three-point attempts per game in 28 minutes per game this regular season, Robinson has shot just 3 of 11 (27.3 percent) on threes in the Heat’s series against the Celtics. He has played a total of just 10 minutes in the last two games.

The back injury listed as left facet syndrome forced Robinson to miss nine of the Heat’s final 14 regular-season games before he made himself available for the playoffs. But like Love, Robinson has produced negative minutes with a plus/minus of minus 29 in 42 minutes through the first four games of the series.

Along with Love and Robinson, the Heat used Haywood Highsmith, Wright and Mills off the bench in Game 4.

As the Heat deals with injury issues, the Celtics entered Game 4 with no players on their injury report. But that may change for Boston entering Game 5.

Starting Celtics center Kristaps Porzingis asked to be subbed out and limped to the locker room with 2:27 left in the second quarter of Monday’s game.

Porzingis never returned, missing the rest of Game 4 with what the Celtics announced as right calf tightness.

Porzingis averaged 14 points, 5.7 rebounds, 2.3 assists, 1.7 steals and two blocks per game while shooting 41.9 percent from the field and 7 of 17 (41.2 percent) from three-point range through the first three games of the series before exiting Game 4 early.

Without Porzingis, Al Horford started the second half at center for the Celtics. Horford closed Monday’s game with seven points, eight rebounds and two assists in 34 minutes.

Now in a 3-1 hole, the Heat faces long odds that not many teams have overcome.

Entering this year’s playoffs, teams that fall behind 3-1 in a best-of-7 series have gone on to lose the series 95.4 percent of the time (13-268).

Among the 13 instances of a team rallying from a 3-1 deficit to win a best-of-7 series, only two have come since 2016. The Denver Nuggets are the last team to pull it off, coming back from a 3-1 hole to win a first-round series against the Utah Jazz and a second-round series against the Los Angeles Clippers during the 2020 playoffs in the NBA bubble.

The Heat has come back from such a deficit only once in franchise history, rallying from a 3-1 series deficit to win a second-round matchup against the New York Knicks during the 1997 playoffs.

The Heat needs to win three straight games over the Celtics to get it done this time. Considering the Celtics did not lose three straight games during the regular season, that’s going to be a very tough task for the Heat.

“This is a significant challenge with Boston and our guys love that,” Spoelstra said. “We want to bring this back to Miami [for Game 6] and put together another great game in front of our fans.”