Celtics Wrap: Boston Stuns Heat With Clutch Win To Force Game 6

The C's live to play another day


May 25, 2023

BOSTON — The Celtics kept their season alive yet again in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference finals, defending their home floor and defeating the Heat, 110-97, on Thursday night at TD Garden.

Boston cut Miami’s series lead to 3-2.

Check out the full box score here.

The history-setting chase (and season) remains alive for the Celtics.

Undefeated in elimination games this postseason entering a pivotal Game 5, the Celtics continued their unbeaten trend, bringing their momentum all the way from Miami to Boston. And it didn’t take very long for Joe Mazzulla’s squad to do it, either. In the first quarter, the Heat committed six turnovers and only connected on two 3-pointers to Boston’s seven, setting for a season-saving foundation that the C’s built upon until they reached the end of the finish line.

Most importantly, the Celtics never took their foot off the gas, flipping the pressure on Jimmy Butler and Miami despite being the team playing catch-up with their season hanging on the edge of a cliff. Boston pulled the rug out from underneath Miami head coach Erik Spoelstra, setting a defensive tone to amplify the discomfort in Butler and the Heat offense as a whole.

The Celtics forced Miami into an outside-shooting drought, refusing to let the Heat replicate their prior 3-point outpours. Instead, all Miami starters registered a negative plus-minus while holding the Heat to just seven second-chance (garbage time) points. Boston had an 18-point lead to start the fourth and never let go of the rope. In fact, the Heat never even held a lead.

Shocking? Perhaps, but the job isn’t done (yet) and neither is the series.

— Derrick White came through for the Celtics, finishing with a game-leading 24 points on 8-of-11 shooting from the field and 6-of-8 from beyond the arc. White also recorded three rebounds and two steals while ending the night a game-high plus-22.

— Jayson Tatum followed White’s efficient lead, notching a double-double with 21 points, 11 rebounds and eight assists. Tatum did struggle from the outside, knocking down just 1-of-6 3-point attempts.

— Duncan Robinson did his part off the bench, scoring 18 points while shooting 7-for-10 from the field with four rebounds and nine assists. The 29-year-old sharpshooter put forth a strong campaign to be inserted in Miami’s starting lineup, with Gabe Vincent’s status unknown, for Game 6.

FanDuel Sportsbook set the over/under on Al Horford’s rebound total at 5.5 with +140 odds on the Over, but he surpassed those expectations early. Horford grabbed seven rebounds in the first half, to lead all players at that point. A $100 wager placed on the 36-year-old would’ve resulted in a $240 total payout.

The series heads back to Miami where the Celtics will have an opportunity to secure a winner-take-all Game 7 in Boston. The Celtics and Heat meet for Game 6 on Saturday night at Kaseya Center. Tipoff is scheduled for 8:30 p.m. ET.

Thumbnail photo via Winslow Townson/USA TODAY Sports Images
Boston Celtics guard Malcolm Brogdon
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