Friday, May 26, 2023

Celtics 110, Heat 97: Derrick White comes up big in Game 5 win, extend season [MIA leads series, 3-2]

The Celtics extend their season one more time with a 110-97 Game 5 win against the Miami Heat at TD Garden Thursday night.

Derrick White led all scorers with 24 points on 8-of-11 from the field and 6-of-8 from deep, while Marcus Smart added 23 points (7-of-12 and 4-of-6 from 3) and five steals. Jayson Tatum had 21 points on 8-of-16 from the floor, eight rebounds, 11 assists and Jaylen Brown also notched 21 points (9-of-18 and 3-of-5 from 3-point territory) for the C's -- who trail 3-2 in the Eastern Conference Finals.
"We've got to do whatever it takes to get a win," White said in his postgame presser.
Boston has now survived two elimination games against the Philadelphia 76ers and two in this series against the Heat, as they try to pull off an improbable comeback after being down 3-0.
"It just says that our backs are against the wall and we're sticking together and we're competing at a high level to give ourselves a chance," Boston coach Joe Mazzulla said.
Miami was playing without Gabe Vincent, who sustained an ankle sprain in Game 4, saw Duncan Robinson step up with 18 points on 7-of-10 shooting. Bam Adebayo finished with 16 points on 15 shot attempts to go along with eight rebounds and Haywood Highsmith netted 15 points off the bench.

Jimmy Butler (five assists) and Caleb Martin (five rebounds) each chipped in 14 points respectively for the Heat, who hadn't loss two games in a row all postseason.
"We're always going to stay positive, knowing that we can and we will win the series," Butler said during his postgame comments. "We just have to close it out at home."
The Celtics fed off the home crowd, despite only owning four wins out of their last nine outings at home in the playoffs. Smart made a steal on Adebayo to feed Tatum on the game's first made field goal and never looked back, taking a 35-20 advantage into the second quarter.

The lead grew to 20 for Boston, before the Heat cut it to nine with 4:31 left in period. The C's used a 12-6 spurt to close the half with a 61-44 edge at the break, while also outscoring the visiting team 13-0 on second chance points. 

Adebayo scored 10 in the third period to keep Miami's deficit just under 20 heading into the final frame (90-72), but Erik Spoelstra pulled Butler with 9:37 remaining -- essentially throwing up the white flag.

In the Celtics first wire-to-wire victory of the series, they forced Miami to turn the ball over 10 times for 17 points in the first half, as Miami ended up with 16 total turnovers on the night.
"I think now it's a series," Brown said to reporters following the C's second straight win.
Boston will look to force a Game 7 back at TD Garden when they head to Kaseya Center Saturday night. Game 6 is scheduled for an 8:30 ET tip-off on TNT.

Game Notes:

The Celtics connected on 50.6% of their field goal attempts, including 16-of-39 (41%) from 3-point range, while Miami was 51.3% from the floor and 9-of-23 (39.1%) from long distance. Boston won the rebounding battle 37-36 (12-10 on the offensive glass), but were outscored in the paint 52-42. The C's dished out 23 assists (10 turnovers) on 40 baskets to the Heat's 20 dimes also on 40 made shots.

Joel Pavón

Photo used courtesy of Getty Images

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