Pro IQRA News Updates.
Game Tip 5: Derrick White, Blitz Heat from CE as ECF Comeback Continues Originally Featured on NBC Sports Boston
We ourselves have a series, you guys.
The Boston Celtics defended their home court in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Finals on Thursday, winning 110-97 against the Miami Heat at TD Garden to force a Game 6 on Saturday.
The Celtics are the fifteenth team in NBA history to reach Game Six after trailing in the best-of-seven playoff series 3-0. No team has won a series after trailing 3-0 in 150 cases.
Duncan Robinson led the Heat with 18 points while Jimmy Butler scored only 14. Miami’s offense struggled mightily with Gabe Vincent sidelined with an ankle injury.
Here are our takeaways from Boston’s second straight victory, which puts more pressure on Miami for Game 6:
The Celtics kept their season alive in Thursday’s game against the Heat at TD Garden.
Derek White: The Difference Maker
White had a quiet offensive streak against the Philadelphia 76ers in the second round, but he’s made a huge impact in the last two Celtics wins—especially with his outside shot.
The C guard connected on 6 of 8 3-pointers in Game 5 – three of which came in the first quarter to help Boston build to a 35-20 lead.
White searched hard for his shot all night and now has 40 points on 13 of 21 shooting (9 of 15 of 3) in the last two games.
The Celtics are at their best when they’re parlaying the floor and many players hit 3s, and White led the offense in that division on Thursday. After hitting 15 of 36 three-pointers in Game 5, Boston is now 10-2 this postseason when he makes at least 13 three-pointers and 0-6 when he makes 12 or fewer.
Tatum scored 12 points in the first nine minutes of play and did not score again until the 6:39 mark of the third quarter. But that didn’t mean he was out of the game.
The Celtics star adopted a pass-first mentality after his hot start, making quick decisions on Miami double teams to groom his teammates for an open look.
Tatum’s 11 assists is a season-high, and his highest since Game 1 of the 2022 NBA Finals against the Golden State Warriors (13). While he struggled from within 3-point range on this one (1-of-6), Tatum still made an important mark on the game, sparking the C’s early with scoring and helping secondary scorers like White and Smart get ahead of his passes.
win on the sidelines
The Celtics beat the Heat in their own game Thursday night.
Miami thrived with second chance points and turnovers in Games 1-3, but Boston dominated both categories in Game 5, amassing the Heat’s 17 second chance points on seven and 27 points from 16 Heat turnovers. The Celtics also had a season-high 13 steals and grabbed 12 offensive rebounds.
Smart set the tone for Boston’s hustle in the first minute by diving for a loose ball and setting up Tatum’s pass. Team C beat the heat all night, playing with the desperation that matches the do-or-die stakes.
The Celtics will need to come out with the same energy in Miami on Saturday night if they are to continue their historic comeback.
Heat feels Gabe Vincent’s absence
Vincent has been a key cog of Miami’s offensive line this series, and the Heat’s offense stalled without him early in the fifth game.
The Heat tallied just 20 points in the first quarter, and committed six turnovers on just three pass breakups. Kyle Lowry made two of those early turnovers while starting in Vincent’s absence and finished with a rough streak: five points on 2-of-5 shooting with one assist and four turnovers.
Vincent’s status in Game 6 on Saturday in Miami remains unclear. But it’s definitely worth watching, as he’s one of the Heat’s few reliable scorers outside of Butler.
If Vincent can’t make it into Game 6 — scheduled for Saturday at 8:30 p.m. EST at the Kaseya Center in Miami — expect the Celtics to deliver similar defensive intensity and force the 37-year-old Lowry into action.