The Boston Celtics won the Miami Heat 110-97 in Game 5 to keep their dreams of back-to-back NBA Finals appearances, and a historic series comeback, alive. They have faced elimination in the face four times this postseason and wriggled out of it.
According to Boston head coach Joe Mazzulla, the team’s mindset was “just win or die,” as they headed to the crucial playoff tie, and they played as such.
The Celtics started strong from the first quarter and moved to an early 15-point lead and started leading 35-20 after the first 12 minutes.
The Boston Celtics never slowed down and continued with great team effort, the game ended with four players hitting the 20-point mark.
Celtics stars Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown, and Marcus Smart all reached the milestone, as well as Derrick White who had a particularly strong game from deep.
He led all players in scoring with 24 points, shooting an impressive 6-of-8 from beyond the arc, and leading the Boston three-point barrage – the team shot 16-of-39 from deep.
At 3-0 down, it seemed an impossible task for Boston to rally, but they seem to have found the answer for Miami Heat’s Jimmy Butler on the defensive end, which will be crucial if they are to complete the historic task of becoming the first team to come back from an 0-3 series hole.
Jimmy scored 14 points – taking 10 shots in the defeat. He will need to find another strategy if the Heat are to game up the series.
Miami head coach Erik Spoelstra gave credit to the Boston Celtics for their feat saying; “no, there’s no excuses. Not at all. The Celtics outplayed us tonight.”
“One game doesn’t lead to the next game,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. “It just doesn’t matter. It’s about collectively preparing and putting together a great game. We’ll play much better on Saturday. That’s all we just have to focus on right now,” he added.
Speaking after the game, Jaylen Brown said; “it couldn’t get no worse than being down 3-0, but we didn’t look around, we didn’t go in separate directions. We stayed together. We doubled down on what we’re good at on defense, and now, I think it’s a series.”
The series will now go back to Miami on Saturday with both teams fully aware that the game is another “win or die” game. Another Celtics victory would send the series back to Boston for Game 7 and the Heat will be doing all they can to prevent that from happening.