“Don’t give us one” has now become “don’t give us three.” Boston Celtics froze Miami heat to stop the elimination and force Game 6 in Miami. With a 110-97 win, the Celtics are on the verge of potentially making history as the first team to come back from a 0-3 deficit. Derrick White continued his stellar streak with 24 points and 6 three-pointers. In the Heat, Duncan Robinson led all Miami scorers with 18 points.
The tone of the game was set almost immediately when Marcus Smart’s two three-pointers (23 points, 5 steals, four 3-pointers) on Jayson Tatum’s brilliant ball action gave the Celtics a 15-5 lead. Much like the second half of Game 4, Miami couldn’t really dribble around the Celtics players and was only praying to fall. Jaylen Brown, who had struggled in the series so far, continued to make a living in the fast break, picking up the pace and even dropping a few three-pointers. It was actually a hail of threes.
Jaylen Brown (21 points, 3 steals) and Jayson Tatum (21 points, 8 rebounds and 11 rebounds) were both integral to the quick starts from both sides.
In the second quarter, Miami players – namely Caleb Martin and Duncan Robinson – continued to lift the Heat as Jimmy Butler (14 points, 5 rebounds, 5 assists) and Bam Adebayo (16 points, 8 rebounds) moved into Game 4. they just don’t feel comfortable after Joe Mazzulla improved their defensive strategy. All the strategy in the world would mean nothing if the players didn’t play with energy and the Celtics came out with a ridiculous amount of energy.
Apart from the players who struggled to advance (Smart and Brown), Tatum and White kept up the momentum. Tatum’s timing in the first half (especially the first quarter) was exceptional. He looked like a man among men, swinging the ball as if finding scorers was nothing. One of these shooters, Derrick White, has been shooting amazingly for the last 48 hours. Because he was less isolated from Jimmy Butler, his effectiveness skyrocketed.
Boston’s defense forced Miami’s 10 losses in the first half. Despite Miami roleplayers keeping them alive and holding back outrageous runs, an exceptional effort that led to a 17-point lead in the first half.
After halftime, Boston eliminated any potential run to Miami whenever the Heat would take it too low. Marcus Smart and Derrick White passed the entire Heat team from behind the three-point line. It was a positive shooting regression, but like Tuesday, it was the defense that opened the field for the Celtics. Getting easy opportunities in the interim gave Boston a level of comfort that allowed them to last the rest of the evening, no matter what Miami threw at them.
After the lead grew to 23 points in the second half, the Heat’s closest in minutes without trash was 18 points.
First time in NBA history that the starting five have 12 or more steals and 12 or more 3-pointers. The Miami bench came out tonight, but that doesn’t matter when the gap between the starting lineups is so huge.
Miami spun the ball over 16 times compared to nine losses for the Celtics. Conversely, the Celtics hit 16 three-pointers versus Miami’s nine. The Smart and the Whites (47 points, 10 three-pointers) topped Miami’s entire starting lineup and scored more three-pointers than the entire Heat team.
After today’s victory, the Boston Celtics lost to the Miami Heat just 3-2. They have seen a lot of 3-2 deficits in the last two postseasons. One tough away win to force Game 7 at home. They can’t think about how far they’ve come in this series. All in all, they’ve already gone 3-2 and can do it again. Game #6 will take place Saturday night at 8:30 p.m. EST on TNT.