MIAMI ( Associated Press) — Jaylen Brown scored 25 points, Jason Tatum added 22, and the Boston Celtics cruised to a berth in the NBA Finals after beating the Miami Heat 93-80 on Wednesday night after halftime and took 3 . Leading in the -2 Eastern Conference title series.
Al Horford had 16 points and Derrick White added 14 points for the Celtics. Tatum finished with 12 rebounds and nine assists.
Bam Adebayo scored 18 points and scored 10 rebounds for the Heat, who shot 32% in Game 4—after shooting 33% in Boston’s 20-point victory in Game 4. Gabe Vincent scored 15 runs, Jimmy Butler scored 13 and Duncan Robinson made 11. Miami.
Heat were 7 for 45 from 3-point range.
Game 6 is Friday night in Boston, where a pair of newly named trophies named after Celtics legends will be waiting. The Bob Cousy Trophy goes to the East Champs, the Larry Bird Trophy goes to the East Finals MVP, and the Celtics are one victory away from being the first team to hoist them.
The series has seen massive momentum – a 44–14 Miami run in Game 1, a 60–21 Boston run in Game 2, a 46–20 Miami run to open Game 3, and then a 57–33 Boston run in the same game. run, and a 26-4 lead by the Celtics to open Game 4.
Game 5 was absolutely one-sided.
Scores in the 6 1/2-minute span of the second half: Celtics 24, Heat 2. The turnaround was from 59-58 Boston to 83-60 Boston, and that was it.
Boston led Miami 32-16 in the third quarter, holding the Heat to 17% shooting in that period. The difference was only 11 at the time – but soon, the game was in zero doubt. A 14-2 run was how Boston opened the fourth quarter, with Brown making three 3-pointers in the span of 2 1/2 minutes to cap the flurry, and the lead was out to 23.
Brown then sealed matters with a down-the-lane dunk with a 5:19, at which time the lead was 18 and the countdown was on for Boston.
The Celtics have not reached the NBA Finals since 2010. There have been four East Finals trips since then, losing two to Miami and two to Cleveland. There were also two occasions – Game 6 against the Heat in 2012 and Game 7 in 2018 against the Cavaliers – when the Celtics had a chance to claim the conference title by winning a game at their home turf.
They lost both, with LeBron James serving as official thug both times, with 45 points to save Miami in the 2012 game and 35 points to lift Cleveland in the 2018 clinch.
He won’t be in the way of the Celtics on Friday night.
Will need someone to give Miami some semblance of impersonation.
Offenses were in short supply in the first half, but Miami’s defense was giving the Heat hope. Miami took the lead 19-17 one after the other and 42-37 at the break. At intermission Tatum was 1 for 9, Butler 2 for 8, and the teams combined shot 37.8% from the field and 21.6% from 3-point range.
It was the lowest-scoring first half of a conference final game since May 28, 2014, when the Heat and Indiana combined with 75 points at the break to win the Pacers 93–90.
And Miami, somehow, got cold enough to start the second half. The Celtics did not.
The Heat lost their first nine shots from the field after the break, until Butler closed contact and scored a drive that left Miami in third place with 6:53 within 49–48.
But soon, the Celtics took control. of the game. and series.
Celtics: Marcus Smart picked up two fouls in the first 3:51 of the first quarter, then two more in the first 3:15 of the third quarter. … White and Robert Williams III put on a combined 7 for 8 in the first half, while the rest of their teammates were a combined 6 for 26.
Heat: Tyler Herro (Waist) misses for the second game in a row. … Max Strauss was 0 for 9, Kyle Lowry was 0 for 6, and the Heat starting guards are a combined 1 for 28 in their last two games. …Miami lost their first six shots, a marked improvement after missing their first 14 shots to start Game 4.
Game 6 will be the 140th playoff game for Horford. No one has been in more postseason competitions without appearing in the NBA Finals—something that he and the Celtics could change with another win over Miami.
DJ Khaled was back in his customary seat near the heat bench. Among other stars in the sell-out crowd: Alex Rodriguez, Paul Pogba, Jimmy Buffett, Xavian Howard and Brooks Koepka.
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