The Celtics force the series’ return to Miami and close in on NBA history

Derrick White had 24 points, including six 3-pointers, and the Boston Celtics dominated the Miami Heat 110-97 in Thursday night’s Game 5, extending the Eastern Conference Finals.

Marcus Smart had 23 points and five steals. Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown finished the game with 21 points each as the Celtics clinched their second straight win and reduced Miami’s lead of the series to 3-2.

It keeps Boston’s hopes alive of becoming the first team in NBA history to come down from a 3-0 deficit and win a series. Teams that were previously in this position are 0-150 in the standings.

Game 6 is Saturday in Miami.


Jayson Tatum and Grant Williams

Jayson Tatum #0 high fives Grant Williams #12 of the Boston Celtics in the first quarter against the Miami Heat in game five of the Eastern Conference Finals at TD Garden on May 25, 2023 in Boston Massachusetts. (Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

A day after the Florida Panthers snagged the franchise’s first ticket to the Stanley Cup Finals since 1996, the Heat were denied a berth in the NBA Finals for the second straight season.

Duncan Robinson led the heat with 18 points. Bam Adebayo added 16 points and eight rebounds. Jimmy Butler had 14 points, five rebounds and five assists but sat out the final 9:47 of the game. Caleb Martin finished the race with 14 points.

It was Butler’s weakest game in the playoffs. He had 16 points in Game 3, a stunning win for Miami.

Miami never led and had 16 turnovers.

Boston started this postseason just 4-5 at the TD Garden. But with a raucous home crowd behind them, the Celtics thrived on their energy.

They lunged for loose balls, struggled for rebounds against Miami, and found themselves transitioning for layups and dunks while amassing up to 20 points in the first half.

Jaylen Brown dives in

Jaylen Brown #7 of the Boston Celtics throws the ball against the Miami Heat during the second quarter of game five of the Eastern Conference Finals at TD Garden on May 25, 2023 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

NBA legend YAO MING resigns as chairman of ailing Basketball Association of China

The Heat made it, but Boston kept hitting threes and extended their lead to 96-72 in the fourth quarter.

Boston’s fans reignited a “Beat the Heat!” chant not prevalent since Game 1.

The Heat started Kyle Lowry as point guard after Gabe Vincent was out earlier in the day with a left ankle sprain. It was Lowry’s first launch since February 2.

Vincent, the Heat’s third-leading scorer this postseason, injured himself late in Miami’s Game 4 loss when he landed awkwardly trying to save a loose ball near the Heat bench.

His presence was missed as Miami struggled early on offense and were surrounded by the Celtics’ defense, which forced the Heat to ten turnovers in the first half that resulted in 17 Boston points. Lowry played 31 minutes, scoring five points and finishing with four turnovers.


Heat: In the first 24 minutes they were surpassed in the second half with 13:0 points.

Celtics: Al Horford added six points and 11 rebounds. … The Celtics held a 61-44 lead at halftime. … Boston’s first turnover of the game didn’t come until 8:16 in the second quarter.


The Celtics got off to a quick start in front of their home crowd.

Smart defeated Adebayo on Miami’s first possession, triggering a quick break and layup from Tatum at the other end.

Then, with the game tied 4-0, Tatum broke free in the lane and hit a monstrous two-handed dunk. After that, he got stuck on the edge and kept cheering as he landed, resulting in a technical foul.

Jaylen Brown

Jaylen Brown #7 of the Boston Celtics reacts against the Miami Heat during the second quarter of game five of the Eastern Conference Finals at TD Garden on May 25, 2023 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)


This did not detract from the dynamic of the Celtics, because in the first quarter their lead increased to 23:7. Boston ended the period with a 35-20 lead, interrupted by White’s 3-point shot on the buzzer.

Tatum had 12 points in the first 12 minutes, with the Celtics beating the heat 21-6 from distance. Boston hit 7 of his 12 attempts.


Celtics Hall of Fame member Paul Pierce, NCAA President Charlie Baker, and New England Patriots Matt Slater and Devin McCourty were among several celebrities in the garden.

Related Articles

Back to top button