While this streak between Heat and Celtics, so far, has been particularly unbalanced with each encounter, with almost systematic ‘bursts’, the first half of this Game 5 is refreshing from this point of view. Two teams collide, the intensity is very high. There is certainly no address (Boston 13/34, Miami 18/48), but it doesn’t spoil the fun.
The first trend is emerging: leaders in this first period are looking for excitement. Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown have 1/9 and 2/7 respectively, and Jimmy Butler has 2/8. Discreet exteriors are interiors that steal the show: Al Horford is at the stove and at the mill (10 points, 3 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 block and 1 intercept) while Bam Adebayo is with 10 points and 5 rebounds from Bam Adebayo.
At half-time, towards the end of this rough first half (17 ball losses per 20 passes, cumulative) but controversial and very enjoyable, Heat has a short lead led by their defenders (42-37). The Celtics fight offense, including 10 balls lost (12 points conceded), but play the game nonetheless.
After returning from the locker room, you should forget about the achievements of the first half. Heat players lose ground in attack (4/23 on shots) and can no longer impose their defense Celtics, who wake up and score 32 points in the third quarter only (11/18), when they had only 37 in the first 24 minutes of the game points. Influenced by Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown who finally found their way into the circle, momentum rocking completely at the end of this third quarter (69-58).
The start of the last act was disastrous for the locals, who suffered a terrible 14-2, giving an advantage of +23 (83-60) eight minutes before the end of the game. Mass is (already) said, it sounds warm, the FTX Arena is air-conditioned.
Seemingly controlling the situation for the first half, Erik Spoelstra’s charges sank after the break. Unable to put out the fire in their defense, when the Celtics found some semblance of an offensive beat, they were pushed away from the circle, never finding a beat for the three hands. Now, losing 3-2 after two losses in a row, the Miami players are back to the wall. They must now concentrate immediately on Game 6: on the Boston court it will be “Win or go home”.
This is a huge victory for Boston, perhaps the best of their playoff campaign. But the hardest part remains to be done: we now have to finish work at TD Garden on Thursday. The result is the first franchise finale since 2010.
WHAT YOU NEED TO REMEMBER
– Celtics 24-2. There was still only 1 point difference (59-58) 2min 44 from the end of the third quarter. And then Jaylen Brown simplified his game, the Boston shots began to flow in together, and Heat no longer seemed to have the energy to contain this new rush, and especially to respond to it. A few minutes later it was 83-60 on the scoreboard and that Game 5 was folded.
– Heat on the kneecaps and awkward. Miami managed to score two of the first three games, but the physical glitches were paralyzing in the last two games. Apparently, this team plays with gritted teeth and shows with a cataclysmic percentage of skill. 4/18 for Jimmy Butler, 0/15 for the title tandem on the pitch, Kyle Lowry and Max Strus, 7/45 with a total of 3 points for the Florida shooters …
TOPS / SLIPPERS
Boston interiors. A big night for Al Horford and Robert Williams III, who ruled the racket, against Heat very often in a “small ball” configuration. The first compiled 16 points, 7 rebounds, 5 assists and 3 blocks, while the second, more discreet in attack but terrifying in defense, ended in 6 points, 10 rebounds and 3 blocks.
“Jaya”. Clumsy and discreet in the first half, the two Celtics stars started their club’s rebellion after the break, especially in the third quarter. Very clumsy (7/20), Jayson Tatum still manages to touch the triple-double: 22 points, 12 rebounds and 9 assists. For Jaylen Brown, he is less complete, but more consistent in attack: 25 points out of 10/19 and 4 rebounds.
Bam Adebajo. His double-double with 18 points and 10 rebounds was not enough. Too lonely in attack, without Tyler Herro and the awkward Jimmy Butler, the Heat axis does with honors. In defense, he shone as usual, but was pushed out of the circle by the size of the Celtics, and since his outer side failed to fire, he couldn’t have done much more to help his team.
Jimmy Butler. In a difficult situation since his injury in the third game of this conference final, Jimmy Butler missed his match despite 6 rebounds, 4 assists and 2 steals. A whimsical shot that gives a small sum of 13 points at 4/18. Very complicated for Heat to win when their top player is in trouble at the moment. Knowing this animal, even if it seems quite physically weakened, we can expect a huge response to Game 6, Miami’s potential final game of the season.
Heat shooters. With access to the rocket blocked, Heat began firing from a great distance. Score: 7/45, a very low success rate of 15.6%, especially 0/7 from Max Strus, 0/5 from Kyle Lowry, 1/7 from Gabe Vincent or even 1/5 from Jimmy Butler and PJ Tucker. Erik Spoelstra almost felt disgusted when he saw the stats line at the post-match press conference …
Game 6: in Boston, on Friday night at 02:30.