It was a bittersweet afternoon for Heat rookie Jaime Jaquez Jr. as he played in his first playoff game in the NBA, but it resulted in a dismantling 114-94 loss to the Boston Celtics. After the contest, the UCLA product talked about what his first experience was like in a true playoff atmosphere as TD Garden is known for being one of the loudest arenas in the league during this time.

“I think it was definitely…you can feel the difference from regular season games to the playoffs,” Jaquez said. “The intensity level, the fans, the energy. Everything is just heightened. But you know, you get your feet wet and then just play basketball.”

Out of the few bright spots for the Heat in the ugly loss to the Celtics was in fact Jaquez who had a solid afternoon as he scored 16 points to go along with four rebounds and four assists. He even started the game, filling for the injured Jimmy Butler as he deals with an MCL sprain that will keep him out for several weeks.

Erik Spoelstra gives his assessment on Jaquez in first Heat playoff game

Miami Heat guard Jaime Jaquez Jr. (11) controls the ball while Boston Celtics guard Jaylen Brown (7) defends during the second half in game one of the first round for the 2024 NBA playoffs at TD Garden.
Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

Butler and Jaquez have time and time again been compared to in their play-styles, especially for the way they drive to the paint and use their physicality to excel. Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra spoke after the game to talk about how the Heat “need him to be aggressive” as they require other offensive production from someone else besides Tyler Herro and Bam Adebayo.

“He gathered himself, you know we need him to be aggressive so it's not all just just Tyler and Bam and then the decision making once he gets into the paint,” Spoelstra said. “And that's part of his development, he has gotten much better in the last six weeks or so. Reading the defense, reading the backside, and reading where the help is coming, reading cutters or spacers.”

Bam Adebayo talks about what you learn in first playoff experience

Adebayo has sung the praises of the rookie throughout the year and put himself in his shoes when he was a first-year player back in the 2017-18 season. Miami's captain said the 23-year old played “winning basketball” in Sunday's Heat loss as he also detailed the aspects you learn as a rookie in your first playoffs experience.

“You understand how important every possession is, you understand how important every possession, every shot, turnover, everything matters,” Adebayo said. “Know our schemes, knowing every detail, because you don't want to look back at a game like if I hadn't done this, it would be different. So I feel like he really handled it well. He just took the shots with confidence. He played winning basketball, just didn't win.”

Jaquez on getting time to “mentally and physically” be ready for Game 2 

Now that Jaquez has crossed his first playoff game off the bucket list, he is focused on helping the Heat reach their goals in making this a competitive series. Jaquez said that with two days to prepare, “it's a lot of time to get mentally and physically ready.”

“I think two days to prepare, it's a lot of time to get mentally and physically ready,” Jaquez said “You know, I know the coaching staff is going to work really hard to figure out a game plan. Us as players, we're going to get ready as best we can to execute.”

Miami aims to steal a win in Boston so they can have one under their belt before coming back home to give them some momentum against arguably the best team in the league. Game 2 will be Wednesday night as the Heat look to avoid a 0-2 series deficit.