On Saturday evening, Jayson Tatum and the Boston Celtics took a 2-1 lead in their Eastern Conference first round matchup vs the Miami Heat with a dominating 104-84 road win vs the Miami Heat in a game that wasn't even really as “close” as the final margin suggested. Coming into the game, many were wondering how the Celtics would respond after suffering one of the biggest playoff upsets in recent NBA history during Game 2 of the series on Wednesday evening, but Tatum and his teammates came to play in South Beach, displaying some suffocating defense even as their offense continued to struggle a little bit (with the notable exception of the second quarter onslaught).

One milestone reached during the win came for Celtics' backup big man Al Horford, who surpassed Philadelphia 76ers icon Allen Iverson in playoff scoring during the victory.

On Sunday, that news was revealed to Horford himself, who had a hilariously candid reaction to the realization.

“I've played a lot of games,” said Horford, per Celtics on CLNS on X, the social media platform formerly referred to as Twitter. “A lot of playoff games, and I've been very fortunate. I don't know what to say about that. I just think that for me the mindset is always thinking team and helping our team be in the best position. I'm just very grateful to be in the league for this long and be able to impact the game.”

Horford has probably never had a better chance at his first NBA championship than the one sitting in front of him right now, as the Celtics are the betting favorites to pull through and hoist their first banner since 2008.

Can the Celtics finally break through?

Boston Celtics center Al Horford (42) warms-up before game three of the first round for the 2024 NBA playoffs against the Miami Heat at Kaseya Center.
Jim Rassol-USA TODAY Sports

Boston has been the best team in the NBA by a country mile throughout this season, finishing with 64 wins and probably could have won more if they had more motivation to compete down the stretch of the regular season.

Talent has never been the issue for the Celtics, although it should be noted that the 2023-24 iteration of the team has a good bit more in that department than in previous years. Still, the question for Boston has always been about the team's mental toughness and coaching.

The Celtics certainly showed some mental toughness and resiliency in the win on Saturday, quickly snatching back home court advantage in the series and picking up their third straight road playoff victory over the Heat in the process. Another major question for this Celtics team is their ability to execute in crunch time during playoff games, and that aspect of the squad hasn't really been tested yet through the first three games, as all three wins in the series have been in relatively comfortable fashion for each team.

In any case, the Celtics will have a chance to take a commanding 3-1 lead in the series heading back to Boston on Monday evening, once again in Miami. That game is slated to tip off at 7:30 PM ET and will be carried nationally by TNT.