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NBA Playoffs: Boston Celtics win match point

The Boston Celtics earned a match point in the Eastern Conference Finals and beat the Miami Heat 93-80 in Game 5. In a defensive battle of attrition, it was the visitors who found their rhythm in the third quarter. Miami, on the other hand, threw ticket after ticket from the perimeter.

A measly 15.6 percent hit the Heat from distance (7/45), so it didn’t help that they threw on the basket 23 times more often thanks to 18 offensive rebounds. 31.9 percent from the field were also shockingly weak. Apart from Bam Adebayo (18, 8/15 FG, 10 rebounds) little came. Jimmy Butler needed 18 throws for 13 points (4/18 FG) and broke 40 minutes despite knee problems. Nothing came from the other starters like Kyle Lowry (0, 0/6 FG) or Max Strus (4, 0/9 FG) either, Gabe Vincent (15) and Duncan Robinson (11) did better.

The Celtics, improving their playoff away record to 6-2, were led by their star duo Jaylen Brown (25, 10/19 FG) and Jayson Tatum (22, 7/20 FG, 12 rebounds and 9 assists), with the former playing in particular a strong second half. Otherwise, only Al Horford (16) and Derrick White (14) scored in double figures. Robert Williams III excelled defensively (6 points, 10 rebounds, 3 blocks). Daniel Theis didn’t see any minutes in the garbage time either.

While Marcus Smart (White on the bench for him) and Williams III (no minute restrictions despite knee problems) were fit in time for the Celtics, sixth man Tyler Herro (groin) missed the second game in a row in the Heat. Still available were Lowry, Strus, Vincent and PJ Tucker, all of whom were listed as Doubtful. Before the start of the game there was a minute’s silence for the victims of the shooting spree at the elementary school in Uvalde/Texas.

After the 82-102 debacle in Game 4, the Heat had to react. Although they grabbed a few offensive rebounds, they missed several layups, so Williams III brought the first points to the scoreboard after more than two minutes via tip-in. Tatum held his shoulder early on, Smart had to go out with two fouls after three minutes. Adebayo woke up Miami with a putback slam. With the Celtics, White was conspicuous. The hosts took the lead with five points in a row, and the energy was right. After twelve minutes, the South Beach team was 19:17 in a game with few points.

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