Jaylen Brown scored 25 points, Jayson Tatum added 22 and the Boston Celtics moved to the edge of a berth in the NBA Finals, run away after halftime to beat them intense heat93-80, on Wednesday night and take a 3-2 lead in the Eastern Conference title series.
Al Horford had 16 points and Derrick White added 14 for the Celtics. Tatum finished the game with 12 rebounds and nine assists.
Bam Adebayo scored 18 points and grabbed 10 rebounds for the Heat, who shot 32% in the game – after shooting 33% in Boston’s 20-point win in Game 4. Gabe Vincent added 15, Jimmy Butler had 13 and Duncan Robinson scored 11 for Miami.
The Heat was 7-for-45 from 3-point range.
Game 6 takes place in Boston on Friday night, where two newly named trophies with the names of Celtics legends will await. The Bob Cousy Trophy goes to the East Champions, the Larry Bird Trophy to the East Finals MVP, and the Celtics are one win away from being the first team to pull them up.
This series has seen massive swings in momentum — a 44-14 run in Miami in Game 1, a 60-21 run in Boston in Game 2, a 46-20 run in Miami to open Game 3, followed by a 57 -33 run in Boston in the same game, and a 26-4 sprint by the Celtics to open Game 4.
The course of the game in game 5 was just as one-sided.
The score over 6 1/2 minutes into the second half: Celtics 24, heat 2. The turnaround was 59-58 Boston to 83-60 Boston and that was it.
Boston beat Miami 32-16 in the third quarter, holding the Heat at 17% during that period. The lead at that point was just 11 – but soon the game was beyond doubt. With a 14-2 run, Boston opened the fourth quarter, Brown capped the excitement by scoring three 3-pointers in 2 1/2 minutes, and the lead was 23.
Brown then sealed the deal with a down-the-lane dunk at 5:19 left, the lead was 18 at that point and the countdown was on for Boston.
The Celtics have not reached the NBA Finals since 2010. There have been four East Finals trips since then, with two losses to Miami and two to Miami Cleveland. There were also two chances – Game 6 in 2012 against the Heat and Game 7 in 2018 against the Cavaliers – when the Celtics had a chance to capture the conference title simply by winning a game on their home ground.
They both lost, with LeBron James acting as the official slayer both times, with 45 points to save Miami in the 2012 game and 35 to lift Cleveland in the 2018 clincher.
He won’t stand in the way of the Celtics on Friday night.
Miami will need someone who gives the appearance of being an impersonator.
Attack was scarce in the first half, but Miami’s defense seemed to offer hope in the Heat. Miami led 19-17 after one and 42-37 at the break. Tatum was 1-for-9 at the break, Butler 2-for-8, and the teams combined shot 37.8% from field and 21.6% from 3-point range.
It was the lowest first half of a Conference Finals game since May 28, 2014, when Heat and Indiana combined for 75 points at the break in what eventually became a 93-90 Pacers win.
And Miami kind of got colder to start the second half. The Celtics don’t.
The Heat missed their first nine shots from the field after the break and got nothing to fall on until Butler blocked contact and scored on a drive that put Miami 6:53 in the third within 49-48.
But soon the Celtics were in control. from the game. And the series.
Associated Press coverage.
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