It was a huge second half for Boston, helping them pull off the come from behind win, forcing a game 6 on Monday (or Tuesday depending on your location)!
Early on, it looked like Miami were set to close out. It was an ugly game and that has been suited to Miami. Robinson was aggressive and Miami had an 26-18 advantage heading into the second quarter. Boston looked lost and like they were ready to go home.
However, from the second quarter onwards, they found their competitive spirits. They locked in defensively and made it very hard on Miami to score, at the same time, they got rolling on the other end. Boston scored 41 points in the 3rd quarter and outscored Miami 70-50 in the second half.
Neither time shot the 3 ball particularly well, but it was especially ugly for the Heat. They finished the game under 20% from long range, making just 7 of their 36 shots. Give credit to the Celtic defense, but it is very uncharacteristic for Miami to shoot that poorly. Boston shot the 3 at around 30%, giving them a plus 15 advantage from the arc.
Fouls plagued both teams in this game, each team shot 29 free throws. A lot of the fouls were silly and undisciplined. Again, it was uncharacteristic, especially considering how good both of these teams are defensively. There must of been 4 or 5 fouls on a three point shooter as well. Very poor decision making! On the topic of officiating, it was another poor showing from them as well. I felt a few times it was a pretty obvious continuation, but the referees seemed to disagree. They were also on the hunt for hostile acts and loved needlessly long reviews, again. At least it didn’t impact the outcome of the game, but it still interrupted the flow and is not fun to watch.
Tatum lead the way for Boston with 31 points, although it was on a poor percentage. He added 10 rebounds to get the double/double. I loved the aggression shown by Jaylen Brown in tonight’s game, particularly early on. He finished with 28 points on 52% shooting and 40% from downtown. Theis also had a double double, with 15 points and 13 rebounds. Once again, he made his presence felt defensively, finishing with 3 blocks. Smart had 12 points, 8 rebounds and 8 assists. His passing really stood out tonight. Kemba added 15 points.
On the other side, it was a well rounded offensive effort by Miami. Everyone was scoring, just not from the three point arc. Butler had 17/8/8, 45% from the field and 0% from 3. Crowder had 14 points, 41% on the field and 0 for 6 from long range. Robinson scored 20, but was unusually bad from deep, going 3 of 11. He did most of his damage early on, when he was driving to the basket. Dragic was 1 of 7 from outside, but finished with 23 points on 47% shooting. Even rookie sensation, Tyler Herro struggled to make his usual impact. He finished with 14 points (40% from long range) and 50% overall. He shot well, but not enough! Bam finished with 13/8/8.
Boston really wanted this one and after a slow start, they played like it. Two things stood out for me. The first was how poorly Miami shot the 3. It’s no wonder they lost, especially when it is such a pivotal part of their offense. The second, is the rebound advantage that Boston had. To me, a rebound is a good stat to show how much a team wants it. Rebounding comes down to hard work and dedication. Boston had an impressive 13 offensive rebounds and and 50 on the night. The offensive rebounds obviously helped towards their “points in the paint” advantage as well.
Both teams should be feeling pretty good headed into game 6. You could argue that if Miami shot as well as normal, they would of won this game. You could argue that Boston played so well, it didn’t matter how well Miami would of shot. I’m sure both teams are confident and I am looking forward to the next game. Miami’s focus should be on defending without fouling. The shots will drop. Boston needs to maintain this energy and effort, and they need to do it for a while 48 minutes. Boston take tonight’s matchup, 121-108.