MIAMI – Halfway through the 5th game of the Eastern Conference Final on Wednesday night, the Boston Celtics found themselves trailing the Miami Heat by five points.
Still, the Celtics felt better. They could not have played too badly in the first half, making 10 turnovers and conceding nine attacking rebounds to Miami – allowing the Heat to take 14 extra shots.
“In many ways we didn’t play better than we did,” said Celtics coach Ime Utoka. “Sometimes, it’s enough for a guy to get back to his average game.”
No one played badly Jaylan Brown. He went 7-for-2 from the field and made four sales – all in the first quarter.
Then the second half began. Also, as it played out, Brown was the team’s turning point.
Brown’s 19-point, 0-turnover second-half – 18-point combined with the second half Jason Tottam – Moving Boston into another victory on their first trip to the NBA Finals in 12 years, as the Celtics won 93-80 over the Heat, allowing Boston to break a rock fight in the first half. .
“Same player,” Brown said from the first half to the second. “Just have to settle down. That’s all. The game wears off, some of that energy, that intensity starts to wear off a little bit, so the game opens up a little bit. The game opened up for me in the second half.
“I do not want to go down. I do not want to see the past. I think this game is over. I need to come out and respond to my team.
“The first half s —. Threw. [Just] Come out and play basketball in the second half. “
After another ugly basketball game in this series for the Celtics in the first half of Game 5 it is unclear whether Boston can really follow Brown’s instructions. The rails in this series, however, did not allow the Celtics heat game to open, which was different from other periods when Boston left.
On the contrary, things were ugly on Ledger’s Miami side. Todd and Brown combined to go 10-for-33 in the first half when the Celtics threw the ball around, but Miami could not hit anything. Its opening backcourt Kyle Lori And Max Stress Went from field to 0-to-15 and from 3-point range to 0 to -12. Jimmy Butler, Playing through a knee issue, ended 4-for-18. Also, overall, the Heat finished the worst at 7 -45 from the 3-point range.
“You have to enjoy this,” said heat coach Eric Spolestra. “You know, if you’ve wanted to beat a ticket to the final, you’ll have to do some ridiculously difficult things.
Like the rest of the series, it was a game. But for the Celtics – a team that has made its significant interim twist around suffocating defenses – it is the latest example of the physical fitness they have been proud of throughout the playoffs.
“I think the stress and difficulty we caused on some teams with our defense sometimes led us to the playoffs,” Utoga said. “You saw in the Brooklyn series, the guys started getting tired. Game7 [last round against the Milwaukee Bucks, Giannis] Antetokounmpo Reduced some. But constantly throwing all those bodies at people makes them physically and mentally exhausted, making it harder until we give them easy baskets in transition.
“With our comrades, we always hope they do it and eventually find it.”
Brown and Tatum certainly did in the second half. After those early struggles, Brown went into the final three quarters without a turnover. Also, in a game where someone cries for someone, Brown advanced to the blade in the second half to make a shot after prefest on both sides of that first half.
He also hit the last shot of the third quarter (hard midrange bucket) and the fourth first (a triple on the wing), pushing Boston’s lead into double digits. He scored his 13 points in a 5-for-6 shooting in the fourth quarter and made sure it was right there.
“Guys settle down, are constantly aggressive, stop turning the ball over,” Brown said. “We gave them more shots than we did in the first half. We were only five down. If we look at that, we know we’ll get some open chances and we’ll drop them.
“So keep playing basketball, be aggressive. That’s why basketball is 48 minutes.”
It was a similar twist to Tatum, who repeatedly grabbed him by the shoulder throughout the first half as he worked his way out of the nerve issue that briefly knocked him out in the fourth quarter of Game3.
But Tottenham tried to play for the others in the first half, eventually finishing the night with 22 points, 12 rebounds and 9 assists over 44 minutes as he – like Brown – eventually turned into a rhythm in the second half. Advanced.
“Yeah, it bothered me,” Todd said. “We just found out.
“Obviously, they’re a good team. Both teams play hard, compete and have things like that. But the guys like it. [Derrick] WhiteApparently [Marcus] Clever Being out, his presence and JP made some great shots. Everyone contributed from beginning to end. “
Now, the series returns to TD Garden, where Boston – the sixth tour of the conference finals since the last NBA Finals – will finally have a chance to make that final step into the league championship round.
But in a postseason that the Celtics had already seen many twists and turns – including recovering from the same deficit – the Heat beat the Bucks 3-2 at the conference on the road at 6 p.m. Semi-Finals – Boston have not finished its job yet.
“Speaking of the mood we had after the game, the last time we were trailing 3-2, we had to go on the road and win the 6th game, we did,” Tatum said. “We can not think it’s over. We need to get back home as we trailed 3-2, with the urgent feeling that this is a game we must win.
“It simply came to our notice then [for Miami to come back]. Obviously, we did it in the last series, so talking about it, obviously enjoying it, but not satisfied with knowing that there are still things to clean up, should play even better. The work is not finished yet. “