The Celtics, who were down 3-0 in the series, have won the last two games by wide margins to keep their playoff hopes alive.
The Eastern Conference Finals were kept entertaining by the Boston Celtics.
After falling in the series by a historically insurmountable 0-3 deficit, the Celtics won again decisively on Thursday night at TD Garden. Game 5 of the series was played in Boston, where the Celtics easily defeated the Miami Heat 110-97 to force a decisive Game 6 on Saturday night in Miami.
Even though the Celtics still have a long way to go before they can advance to the NBA Finals for the 2nd year in a row from a 0-3 series hole, their last two victories have shown that they can do it.
On Thursday night, the Celtics got off to an almost immediate start. In the opening seven minutes of play, they limited Miami to only five points while increasing their lead to 15. A 3-pointer by Derrick White at the buzzer gave Boston a 35-20 advantage at the end of the first quarter.
Celtics Commanding Lead and Strong Finish Overwhelm Heat, Securing Convincing Victory
Despite the Heat being within 11 points on many occasions in the middle of the second quarter, Boston completed the period strong to take a 17-point advantage into halftime. The Heat starters had only managed 19 points at that time.
The Heat appeared completely unconcerned by that point. Boston was able to counter whatever move they made in the third. The Celtics outscored the Heat by a single point in the third, and they’ll take an 18-point advantage into the final frame.
Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra benched his starters in the middle of the quarter since any chance of a comeback had long passed. Despite Miami cutting Boston’s advantage to three points in the last minute, the Celtics still won by 13.
Celtics Quartet Dominates Scoring as Boston Secures Victory, Forces Game 6 Against Heat
Bam Adebayo led the Heat with 16 points and 8 rebounds. Jimmy Butler scored 14 points and added 5 rebounds and 5 assists for a double-double. Just the two of them scored in double digits for the Heat’s starting lineup. Gabe Vincent hurt his ankle late in Game 4 and couldn’t play for the Heat.
White scored 24 points to lead the Celtics to victory. Marcus Smart contributed 23 points, and Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown both scored 21. Of Boston’s 110 points, 89 came from that quartet. In addition, they hit approximately 51% of their shots, including 16-of-39 three-point attempts. According to ESPN’s Tim Bontemps, Boston is only the third club in NBA history to force a Game 6 after losing the first three games of a series while still having the greater winning %.
Celtics Crush Heat to Extend Series, Setting the Stage for Intense Game 6 Showdown
After winning Game 4 on Tuesday in Miami by 17 points thanks to a 33-point performance from Tatum that included a comeback from a 9-point second-half deficit, the Celtics blew away the Heat on Thursday to keep their playoff hopes alive.
The Kaseya Center in Miami will host Game 6 of the series on Saturday night. The Heat would rather not have to go to Boston for Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals next week, even though teams who have taken a 3-0 lead in a series are a perfect 150-0. That would increase the drama significantly.
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