The Boston Celtics defeated the Miami Heat 110-97 in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Finals on Thursday night at TD Garden to force a Game 6.
Derrick White led the Celtics with 24 points, including six three-pointers. Marcus Smart added 23 points and five steals. Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown finished with 21 points apiece.
The Celtics shot 50.6% from the field and 40.7% from three-point range [Bard was doing so well thus far. Just off on 3P%, the Celtics shot 41.0%]. They also outrebounded the Heat 44-34 [C’s won the rebound battle 37 to 36].
The Heat were led by Jimmy Butler, who had 35 points [Butler was not his dominate self. He only managed 14 points]. Bam Adebayo added 22 points and 12 rebounds [Adebayo added 16 points and 8 rebounds].
The Celtics trailed by as many as 11 points in the first half, but they outscored the Heat 34-19 in the third quarter [Celtics wont the third quarter but only by a score of 29-28] to take a 90-81 lead into the fourth [Celtics led going to the final 12 minutes by a score of 90-72].
The Celtics then opened the fourth quarter with a 12-0 run to put the game away.
The Celtics will now travel to Miami for Game 6 on Sunday. The winner of the series will advance to the NBA Finals to face the Golden State Warriors [Two big swings and misses for Bard. If the Heat win, they advance. If the Celtics win we get a game 7. Neither one of these teams will be facing the Golden State Warriors in the Finals however. Instead, they will get a well rested Denver Nuggets squad!].
Here are some other key takeaways from Game 5:
- The Celtics’ defense was suffocating in the second half. They held the Heat to just 38.5% shooting from the field and 25% from three-point range.
- The Celtics’ bench was a huge factor in the win. They outscored the Heat’s bench 46-19 [Not exactly. In fact, the Heat bench outscored the Celtics bench by a score of 53-15].
- Celtics’ role players stepped up big time. White, Smart, and Grant Williams all had big games.
- The Celtics are now one win away from the NBA Finals [Nope]. They will be looking to finish the job on Sunday in Miami [If by “job” you mean forcing game 7, then yes!].
The Boston Celtics are in as good a position as any of the 150 teams that were down 0-3 in a series to actually be the first ever to come back and win the series. Game 6 in Miami is key and must-win for the Miami Heat. Game 7, if needed, would be in Boston!