After falling behind 3-1 early in the Eastern Conference finals against Miami Heat, Boston Celtics have gotten themselves back in the series and retain a slim chance of tying the series. Boston Celtics’ 121-108 win over the Heat in Game 5 prolonged their stay in the playoffs. Celtics’ win has also made Game 6 a crucial game for both teams. A win in Game 6 for Boston Celtics will see them tie the series 3-3 with a crucial final match while a loss will see them suffer an elimination.
Game 5 wasn’t an easy affair for the Celtics, who struggled to impose themselves on the Miami Heat in the early minutes of the grueling encounter. The first half of the game was a half to forget for the Celtics as they shot as low as 25% from the field. The Celtics also missed 11 of their first 12 shots in the game and were lucky to be behind by just seven points at halftime despite constant pressure from the Heat’s offense. Game 5 was the second consecutive game of the series that the Celtics had been sluggish in the first half. However, the Celtics began to get back to their usual best in the third quarter and managed to secure a vital win. Boston Celtics’ 41 points in the third quarter of Game 5 was the most points scored by any team in any quarter of the post-season.
Ahead of the crucial Game 6 of the Eastern Conference finals, we take a look at some of the talking points from Boston Celtics’ impressive 121-108 win over the Miami Heat in Game 5.
Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown make the difference for the Celtics once again
It was an indifferent night for Boston Celtics’ Power Forward Jayson Tatum and Shooting Guard Jaylen Brown, who struggled to replicate their best form in the first half of the game. Jayson Tatum, in particular, came into the game on the back of an abysmal performance in Game 4, which saw him fail to score a single point in the first half of that game.
However, both men shrugged off their problems in the early minutes of Game 5 and combined for 59 points to secure the big victory for the Celtics. Jayson Tatum finished the game with 31 points, ten rebounds, and six assists, shooting 8-for-22 in 43 minutes. Tatum also successfully scored 12 of his 14 free throw attempts. Tatum was also the Celtics’ main offensive threat in the third quarter as he scored 17 of the Celtics’ 41 points in that quarter. He again proved to be a nightmare as he drew a lot of fouls from a Miami Heat defense who couldn’t contain him. Jayson Tatum also controlled the pace of the game as his team was on the ascendency. Jaylen Brown also finished the game with 28 points, eight rebounds, and two assists. Twelve of Brown’s overall 28 points came in the fourth quarter.
In 15 postseason games, Jayson Tatum is now averaging 25.5 points per game, 10.2 rebounds per game, and an additional 4.5 assists per game. He is also averaging 0.9 steals per game and 1.3 blocks per game.
Jaylen Brown is also averaging 21.1 points per game, 7.4 rebounds per game, and 2.2 assists per game in addition to 1.5 steals per game.
If both players manage to repeat the same performances in Game 6, the Celtics will surely turn things around with a comprehensive victory and end the Miami Heat’s dreams of reaching their first NBA finals in 6 years.
Coach Brad Stevens’ key rotations pay dividends
Despite Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown grabbing the headlines for their point-scoring exploits, there is no doubt that Boston Celtics’ coach Brad Stevens’ critical decisions made a big difference on the night. In a crucial game that could have seen the Celtics suffer elimination, Coach Stevens decided to make some surprising rotations to counter Miami Heat’s explosive offense. Small Forward Gordon Hayward played in a Point Guard role while Power Forward Grant Williams played closer to Center Enes Kanter in the frontcourt when the Celtics were under pressure from the Heat offense. These decisions paid off as Gordon Hayward playmaking in the second half, coupled with both Daniel Theis and Enes Kanter’s work rate from the third quarter, helped the Celtics control the game. Both Daniel Theis and Enes Kanter combined for an impressive 23 points and 17 rebounds in 45 minutes of Game 5.
Both Theis and Kanter were also vital in unlocking Point Guard Kemba Walker, who showed glimpses of his best form in some stages of the game. Despite recording just 15 points on 4-for-11 shooting, seven assists, and numerous fouls, Walker was lively for the Celtics as he overcame Miami Heat’s 2-3 zone. Walker was perhaps the Celtics’ second-best performer behind Jayson Tatum in the third quarter.