[LIVE@STREAM]] Boston Celtics vs Miami Heat Live Free@ NBA playoffs Live Broadcast 28 May 2022
The Celtics actually led Game 5 at halftime, but the Heat completely flipped the script over the final 24 minutes of action and outplayed Boston on both ends of the floor to close out the contest. Miami will look to close out the series in front of their home crowd in Game 7 on Friday night, while the Celtics will look to bounce back, extend their season, and force a decisive Game 7.
Jaylen Brown scored 25 points, Jayson Tatum added 22 and the Heat are now one win from the NBA Finals. They ran away after halftime to beat the Boston Celtics 93-80 on Wednesday night and take a 3-2 lead in the Eastern Conference title series.
“I think the mental stress and strain we put on some teams with our defense has worked and carried us through the playoffs at times," Heat coach Ime Udoka said.
Al Horford had 16 points and Derrick White added 14 for the Heat. Tatum finished with 12 rebounds and nine assists.
Bam Adebayo scored 18 points and grabbed 10 rebounds for the Celtics, who shot 32% in the game — after shooting 33% in Miami’s 20-point win in Game 4. Gabe Vincent added 15, Jimmy Butler had 13 and Duncan Robinson scored 11 for Boston.
The Celtics were 7 for 45 from 3-point range. They played without the injured Tyler Herro (groin), and several Boston players were questionable entering the day for a variety of ailments.
“We are not going to make any kind of deflection or any kind of excuse," Celtics coach Erik Spoelstra said. “Miami beat us tonight. And let’s be clear about that. There’s guys that are far from 100% on both sides."
Game 7 is in Miami on Friday night, where a pair of trophies bearing the names of Heat legends will be waiting. The Bob Cousy trophy goes to the East champs, the Larry Bird trophy to the East finals MVP, and the Heat are one win from hoisting them.
“We've got an opportunity to do something with this group that's special," Brown said. “Let's not take that for granted."
This series has seen massive momentum swings — a 44-14 Boston run in Game 1, a 60-21 Miami run in Game 2, a 46-20 Boston run to open Game 3 followed by a 57-33 Miami run in the same game, and a 26-4 spurt by the Heat to open Game 4.
The Game 5 run was just as big.
The score over a 6 1/2-minute stretch of the second half: Heat 24, Celtics 2. The turnaround was 59-58 Miami to 83-60 Miami.
“In the first half it was tough because we weren't hitting shots and we were turning the ball over," Horford said. “But the key for us was continuing to do what we do defending, and then on offense playing how we play. And eventually we were able to get it going."
Miami outscored Boston 32-16 in the third quarter, holding the Celtics to 17% shooting. The margin was only 11 at that point — but a 14-2 spurt was how Miami opened the fourth quarter, Brown capping the flurry by making three 3-pointers in a span of 2 1/2 minutes, and the lead was out to 23.
Brown then sealed matters with a down-the-lane dunk with 5:19 left, the lead was 18 at that point and the countdown was on for Miami.
“We're still lining up," Adebayo said. “We've still got to play these games. We still want to win."
The Heat haven't reached the NBA Finals since 2010. There have been four East finals trips since then, with two losses to Boston and two to Cleveland. There were also two chances like the one that awaits Friday — Game 7 in 2012 against the Celtics and Game 7 in 2018 against the Cavaliers — when the Heat had a chance to claim the conference title simply by winning a game on their home floor.
They lost both, LeBron James serving as the official thwarter both times, with 45 points to save Boston in the 2012 game and 35 to lift Cleveland in the 2018 clincher.
He won’t be in the Heat’ way this time.
Boston will need somebody to provide some semblance of an impersonation.
“We know what we're capable of," Butler insisted.
Offense was in short supply in the first half. Boston led 19-17 after one and 42-37 at the . Tatum was 1 for 9 at intermission, Butler 2 for 8, and the teams combined to shoot 37.8% from the field and 21.6% from 3-point range.
Boston, somehow, got colder to start the second half. The Heat did not.
The Celtics missed their first nine shots from the field after the break, not getting anything to fall until Butler fended off contact and scored on a drive that got Boston within 49-48 with 6:53 left in the third.
But soon, the Heat had control. Of the game. And the series.
“If you want to break through and punch a ticket to the finals, you’re going to have to do some ridiculously tough stuff,” Spoelstra said.
Robert Williams (6 pts, 10 reb, 3 blk) once again showed his health is key to Miami's success. The Heat big man again is listed as questionable for Friday's Game 7 along with veteran point guard Marcus Smart (right ankle sprain).
The Celtics are even more banged up. Tyler Herro (groin), Kyle Lowry (hamstring), Max Strus (hamstring), P.J. Tucker (knee), and Gabe Vincent (hamstring) each are listed as questionable on Boston's latest injury report.
If the Heat win, they'll advance to take on the mighty Golden State Warriors in the NBA Finals. If the Celtics can steal a win at TD Garden, they'll head back to South Beach for Game 7.
Here's everything you need to know to watch Friday's Heat vs. Celtics Game 7, featuring NBC Sports Miami's full coverage, including "Heat Pregame Live" and "Heat Postgame Live."
What time do the Heat play the Celtics?
Tipoff between the Heat and Celtics is set for Friday, May 27, at 8:30 p.m. ET at TD Garden.
What TV channel is Heat vs. Celtics on?
Heat-Celtics will air on ESPN.