MIAMI — TheThey were left behind By five, on Wednesday night, at halftime in Game 5 of Eastern Conference finals.
The Celtics were fine. They could not have played worse in the first period, giving up 10 turnovers and nine offensive rebounds to Miami. This allowed the Heat to score 14 more points.
Ime Udoka, Celtics coach said that they weren't performing at their best in a variety of ways. Sometimes, it's all that is needed to get one player back to his normal game.
There was no one playing worse than. He was 2-for-7 from the field and committed four turnovers in the first quarter. This made him the face of many Boston's early struggles.
The second half then began. Brown became the face of the team's turnaround as it unfolded.
Brown's 19 point, 0-turnover 2nd half was paired with an 18th-minute second half— finally broke open the rock fight that had been going on in Boston's first half. The Celtics won 93-80 against the Heat and Boston moved one win closer to its first trip to the NBA Finals for 12 years.
Brown said, “Same player,” from the first half of the second. “Just needed to settle in. That's it. The game begins to slow down as the energy and intensity start to fade. I found the game more open in the second period.
“I didn't want the pain to end. I didn’t want to dwell on the past or think that this was over. My team required me to respond.
“First half was —. It was thrown away. [Just] Come out and play basketball in the second-half.”
After yet another bad stretch of basketball by the Celtics, it was not clear if Boston would be able follow Brown's instructions. However, the difference to the previous periods in which Boston went off the rails is that the Celtics did not allow the Heat break the game open.
But, it was not as easy for Miami. Tatum and Brown combined to go 10-for-3 in the first period, while the Celtics were playing the ball, Miami couldn’t score anything. Its starting backcourt was ofThey combined to score 0 for 15 from the field, and 0-for-12 at the 3-point line. Due to a knee problem, he finished 4-for-18. The Heat were a disappointing 7-for-45 in 3-point range.
Erik Spoelstra, Heat coach, said that you have to “enjoy this.” “You do. “You do. Moving on to Boston together and making that a reality are the moments that will stay with you for the rest your life. This thing will be back on the 29th. We've finished all the talk.
As with the rest of this series it was not a game to be called beautiful. For the Celtics, who have built their remarkable midseason turnaround around an imposing defense, it was just the latest example how physicality has allowed them to take down another opponent.
Udoka stated that the mental strain and strain placed on certain teams by our defense worked in our favor and helped us get through the playoffs. “You could see that the Brooklyn series saw guys start to feel tired. Game 7 [last round against the, This has slowed down a bit. However, having so many bodies to throw at people makes it harder for them mentally and physically.
“With our guys,” we believe that they will eventually figure it out.
Tatum and Brown certainly did in the second half. Brown managed to go the last three quarters with no turnovers after his initial struggles. Brown came up with a second-half shot in a game that was desperate for someone to step up after the first half brickfest.
To push Boston's lead to double-digits, he hit the final shot of the third quarter (a difficult mid-range bucket) as well as the first shot of the fourth (a triple from the wing). He scored 13 points on 5-for-6 shooting in the fourth quarter to ensure it stayed there.
Brown stated that Brown was just describing “just guys getting settled in”, and that they were not turning over the ball. We gave them more chances than we did in the first half. We were only five points behind. We knew that if we took care, we would be able to get some opportunities and knock them down.
“So, just keep playing basketball. Be aggressive.” Basketball takes 48 minutes.
Tatum was also able to make a similar turnaround, grabbing his shoulder repeatedly throughout the first period. He was clearly suffering from the nerve issue which briefly knocked Tatum out of Game 3.
Tatum continued to try to make plays in the first quarter, finishing the night with 22 points. Tatum also had 12 rebounds and nine assists in 44 minutes. Brown was also impressed by his ability to settle into a rhythm during the second period.
Tatum replied, “Yeah. It was bothering me.” “We just found it.
They're a very good team. Both teams compete hard and play hard. However, guys loveIt is obvious. JB was just there and made some great shots. Everyone contributed from the beginning until the end.
Now the series returns to TD Garden. Boston will be making its sixth trip back to the conference finals. This is where Boston can finally make it to the championship round.
Boston is aware that its job is far from over after the playoffs have been filled with so many twists, turns for them. They even came back from the same deficit in Game 6 as the Heat to beat the Bucks in semifinals.
Tatum stated that the mindset and the conversation after the game indicated that, despite being down 3-2 last week, it was necessary to continue on the road and win Game 6. We can't believe it's over. It's important to return home feeling like we're down by 3-2.
“It's possible.” [for Miami to come back]. We did it last series so we know that. Talking about that, enjoying this one but not satisfied knowing that there are still things to do, we need to be better. It's not over yet.