Celtics fend off Heat at home, 110-97, force Game 6 in Miami
Thursday night marked the fourth time the Boston Celtics have faced and elimination scenario this postseason. Given that they’re still alive today, I’ll give you one guess as to what their record is in those games.
On Wednesday night, the Celtics took one small step closer to history, beating the Heat in dominant fashion on their home floor to send the series back to Miami for Game 6. The Heat, given their commanding start to the series, still own a 3-2 advantage, and now have a chance to close out the series at home. Teams that start a series with a 3-0 advantage are 150-0, after all. A close-out opportunity at home feels almost storybook.
Then again, so did the sweep that looked and felt inevitable after Game 3’s debacle of a performance from the Celtics, one that put them in a 3-0 hole. But suddenly, Boston has won two games in a row to make this a series, and has looked dominant doing it. They won by 17 in Game 4 on Miami’s home floor, and then promptly took the Heat to task with a misleading 13-point win in Boston. (It should have been a bigger blowout, but garbage time is called garbage time for a reason.)
Derrick White had 24 points, including six 3-pointers, to lead the way for the Celtics. Marcus Smart (23 points and five steals), Jayson Tatum (21 points, eight rebounds, and 11 assists), and Jaylen Brown (21 of his own) all finished in double-figures to lead the charge. Boston never trailed, forced 16 Miami turnovers, and knocked down 41 percent of their threes. That’s really all you need to know.
Duncan Robinson (!!!) led the Heat with 18 points, while Bam Adebayo added 16 points and eight rebounds. Jimmy Butler had a meager 14 points, five rebounds, and five assists, though he sat for much of the fourth. Haywood Highsmith — getting the 36 minutes that Gabe Vincent left vacant as he sat out with an ankle sprain — scored 15 points off the bench in his first real action this postseason.
Game 6 is on Saturday in Miami, where the Heat will look to become the second eight seed to make the NBA Finals. Boston, meanwhile, will look to force a Game 7, one that will give them the rare opportunity to make history. If any team is going to do it, it might as well be this infuriating group.
As Kevin Millar said about his Boston Red Sox team way back in 2004, “Don’t count us out.” As Curt Schilling famously noted about the same team, “Why not us?”