The Boston Celtics live on. In Game 5, the Celtics beat the Miami Heat 110-97, preventing elimination for a second time.
It was a start-to-finish victory for the Celtics, who broke away early and led by double figures for the rest of the game. The threes of the hosts fell, whereby the two guards Derrick White (24, 6/8 3P) and Marcus Smart (23, 4/6 3P) were able to shine. Jayson Tatum (21, 8/16, 8/16 FG, 10 assists), meanwhile, appeared less as a scorer, but let the ball run well and usually made the right play.
In Jaylen Brown (21, 9/18), a fourth starter also scored in double digits, only Jimmy Butler (14, 5/10) and Bam Adebayo (16, 8/15, 8 rebounds, 6 TO) managed to do that. However, both visiting stars did not play at their best and struggled with the Celtics’ physical and aggressive defense. The bright spots of the Heat were the bench players, primarily Caleb Martin (14), Duncan Robinson (18, 9 assists) and Haywood Highsmith (15), who consequently saw plenty of minutes.
That wasn’t enough, however, so that Boston, after trailing 0-3, was able to avert elimination for a second time. In game 7 after three losses at the beginning only three teams could force the last time the Portland Trail Blazers in 2003 against the Dallas Mavericks, which they lost. Game 6 of the series takes place on Sunday night at 2.30 a.m.
Celtics vs. Heat: Rain of three secures Boston’s lights-to-flag victory
Indeed, Miami was without Gabe Vincent (ankle), allowing Kyle Lowry to join the starting five. With 2 turnovers, the playmaker played a part in Boston starting with a 21:7 run. Miami didn’t get good shots, a lot was late in the shotclock, while Boston kept banging in transition and getting easy corner threes. In addition, Tatum always came to the basket, he finished twice with a smashing dunk. Butler, on the other hand, had problems (1/5), among other things, his threesome was cleared by Rob Williams. Things went differently for Boston, and a buzzerbeater from Derrick White also fell, so that the score was 35:20 after twelve minutes.
The Celtics stayed hot thanks to Brown, but the lead didn’t widen. When Miami didn’t throw the ball away, the visitors scored very consistently. Duncan Robinson sank threes and even after drives, Caleb Martin also delivered good minutes again. What also helped Boston were numerous offensive rebounds against the Heat’s zone and that the three-pointer fell again at the end of the quarter. Adebayo and Butler, on the other hand, were canceled (5/16), so it was clear for the Celtics at the break (61:44)
Both Heat stars improved after the change, but the guests didn’t really get any closer. Whenever the Heat sniffed something, Boston sank a three, so that the lead constantly fluctuated between 15 and 20 points. The hosts weren’t as dominant as they were before the break (especially offensively), but it was enough to continue leading 90:72 before the end of the period.
The game was not completely decided yet. Although the Celtics drew a few fouls, they remained without a field goal for more than four minutes. The Heat didn’t get any closer, so Heat coach Erik Spoelstra decided not to bring his stars again. It was all over, even if Boston’s starters stayed on the field for some time and didn’t finish work until 3:20 minutes before the end.
The top of the game: Derrick White
If White also hits his threes (6 was a playoff high), it will be damn difficult for the opponent. Game 5 was the best proof of that. The guard took his attempts with a lot of self-confidence and was defensively back on top. White stood his ground against larger opponents and also excelled as a point-of-attack defender. Together with the equally strong Marcus Smart, he set the accents on defense. Jayson Taum’s mature appearance shouldn’t be neglected at this point either.
The flop of the game: Kyle Lowry
Vincent’s absence was costly for the Heat, and not just because another rotation player broke away. The fact that replacement Lowry had a pitch-black day (5 points, 2/6 FG, 4 TO in 30 minutes) didn’t help either. The oldie had slight ball losses at the beginning and was never able to replace Vincent’s defense on the perimeter. Of course, it wasn’t his fault alone, more must come from Adebayo and Butler as well.
NBA Playoffs: The Stats Leaders in Celtics vs. Heat
|Points||Derrick White (24)||Duncan Robinson (18)|
|rebounds||Al Horford (11)||Bam Adebayo (8)|
|assists||Jayson Tatum (11)||Duncan Robinson (9)|
|steals||Mark Smart (5)||Adebayo, Butler, Highsmith (2 each)|
|block||Horford, G. Williams, R. Williams, Kornet (1 each)||Adebayo, Yurtseven (1 each)|