The Celtics, who improved to 6-2 on the road in this year’s playoffs, are one victory away from reaching the NBA Finals for the first time since 2010, when they lost to the Los Angeles Lakers. They have not captured the NBA crown since 2008, when they beat the Lakers.
Miami started slowly, missing their first six shot attempts from the floor in a sign of things to come. But Boston’s big names were equally sluggish. The Celtics’ defense gave them enough breaks to escape their offensive lulls, turning around a disastrous start into a runaway second half led by Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown that put them on the brink of the NBA Finals, winning 93-80.
The Celtics’ 93-80 victory over the Miami Heat in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference finals was fueled by a 24-2 second-half run that came after Boston endured a lackluster 37-point first half.
Jaylen Brown scored 25 points and Jayson Tatum added 22 points with 12 rebounds to give Boston a 3-2 lead in the series. Both Tatum and Brown overcame rough first-half performances to lead the Celtics to victory in Game 5. They combined to shoot 3-for-16 (19 percent) from the floor in the first half, their worst combined field goal percentage in any half this season. In the second half, they combined for 33 points on 13-for-18 shooting.
The two teams – with two of the NBA’s finest defenses – were expected to deliver tight contests throughout the series. But those predictions were shredded in the opening four games of the series in which just one match-up was decided by a single-figure margin.