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.
Boston turns up in the third quarter – Miami is freezing
Tatum still didn’t work at all, his right shoulder caused him noticeable problems. Just before the 8-minute mark in the second quarter, he hit his first try from the field after the Celtics went nearly five minutes without a point. The Heat gained additional throws through good rebounding, Caleb Martin and Gabe Vincent contributed from the bench. At Boston, White (5/5 FG) fought back and Brown finally hit a throw. Tucker and Adebayo scored again after offensive rebounds, Horford floated to 37:42 at half-time.
The Celtics started the third quarter with an 8-0 run and quickly regained the lead for the first time since the score was 14:13. Grant Williams opened the half for Robert Williams, who was late returning from the dressing room. Strus missed one shot after the other (but at least went to the line several times), while Horford fouled Coast-to-Coast. Both teams were early in the bonus.
After five minutes, the Heat scored the first points from the field and then continued to throw away threes. Vincent kept her within striking distance. By the end of the quarter, Boston had a good lead with a 10-0 run including a Williams three and points from Brown and Tatum: 69:58 Celtics.
Boston’s offense continued to perform strongly, with 8 points from Tatum and Brown moving to +17, forcing Erik Spoelstra to time out. It didn’t get any better though, Brown followed up with two threes while the Heat fell apart completely. Adebayo scored 8 points in a row for the Heat, Brown on the other hand put on an impressive air show. Vincent reduced it again to -13, but then missed several chances. At the latest after Tatum’s free throws, the thing was done. The banks have been emptied.
The most important statistics
Miami Heat (1) – Boston Celtics (2) 80:93 (BOXSCORE), Serie: 2:3
Already in game 4, the Heat missed the first 14 shots, a game later it didn’t look much better: The fact that 34.8 percent from the field and 14.3 percent from a distance was enough for the lead after the first quarter didn’t say anything for Boston. It’s been three years since a team won the first quarter of a playoff game without scoring at least 20 points.
Both teams were intent on taking away the opponent’s three-pointer or making it as difficult as possible. The first long-range throw of the game was made after eight minutes, after twelve minutes it was 2 (of 12). While the Heat kept throwing one ticket after the other, the Celtics looked for the way to the line and ended up taking 9 more free throws (17/23 vs.13/14). In terms of threesomes, they still made it over the 30 percent mark (30.3, 10/33).
A look at the Celtics turnover also shows that the Heat were at least right from the start. After a quarter there were already 6, 4 of which went to Jaylen Brown. The ball handler was repeatedly put under pressure early on and forced to make wrong decisions. This development did not continue, however, 15 turnovers by Boston, which Miami converted into 17 points, were 12 against the Heat (POT: 14).
- Initially, it looked like the bench would be a big difference between the two teams and this is where the Heat could gain a big advantage. In addition to Vincent, the Heat also had Martin and Robinson, with the Celtics White was also on his own. But: Ultimately, the difference was within a manageable range, due to the garbage time, it looks larger than it was for a long time (38:19).
After 23 minutes and 14 points in Game 4, Duncan Robinson was allowed back onto the floor early. And this made sense too. Although the Celtics constantly involved the weak defender on the defensive, they were not successful for a long time. In addition, they did everything on the other side not to give the sniper any rhythm offensively. He was still able to score a bit, alternatively his gravity gave his teammates open throws, such as in the second quarter in the form of a corner three by PJ Tucker. But the same applies here: In the end, all of that was far from enough.
NBA Playoffs – Heat vs. Celtics: Die Stimmen
Erik Spoelstra (Head Coach Heat): “There are no excuses. Boston beat us today, we should be aware of that.”
Ime Udoka (Head Coach Celtics): “When we generate stops and get running, we’re a killer team. We felt like we were in good shape once we corrected the turnovers.”
Al Horford (Celtics): “This season, these playoffs, this series too, we’ve grown as a group. We’re always trying to improve.”
The star of the game: Celtics defense
Offensively, it is difficult to clearly single out a player (even if Brown in particular clearly improved and White also convinced). What the Celtics did defensively as a team, however, was top notch. Sure, the Heat performed poorly and couldn’t compensate for the loss of Herro. But the combination of Williams III, Horford, Smart and Co. was just too much.
The flop of the game: Kyle Lowry
Of course, Jimmy Butler could also be here, whose 13 points with lousy odds were far too few to carry his team. But: The former Raptors star is a shadow of himself. Battered, unfit, ineffective. Offensively without influence, defensively vulnerable, early in foul problems. His backup Gabe Vincent did much better despite some stupid ball losses. Also very weak: Max Strus.
The scene of the game
Jaylen Brown only had 6 points at the break, just like teammate Tatum didn’t do much. But when the Celtics pulled away decisively, he was there. With 2 threes within a very short time, he took the guests away to 23 points at the beginning of the fourth quarter – and then let it rip properly!
Miami Heat vs. Boston Celtics: The Series at a Glance (2-3)
|1||May 18th||2.30 a.m||Miami Heat||Boston Celtics||118:107|
|2||20. May||2.30 a.m||Miami Heat||Boston Celtics||102:127|
|3||22. May||2.30 a.m||Boston Celtics||Miami Heat||103:109|
|4||24. May||2.30 a.m||Boston Celtics||Miami Heat||102:82|
|5||26. May||2.30 a.m||Miami Heat||Boston Celtics||80:93|
|6||28. May||2.30 a.m||Boston Celtics||Miami Heat||–|
|7*||30. May||2.30 a.m||Miami Heat||Boston Celtics||–|