Man, that was an ugly Game 5 between the Miami Heat and the Boston Celtics. The first quarter ended with the Heat leading 19-17, and they turned that into a 42-37 lead at halftime. It felt a lot like a throwback game to the late ‘90s and early 2000s era, as both teams shot 38% from the field. The Celtics also shot 25% (4 of 16) from three over the first two quarters, while the Heat shot 19% (4 of 21).
It was one of those games where you could tell that most players weren’t themselves, as both sides have banged up players, with Tyler Herro sitting out the game completely with a groin injury suffered in Game 3.
Unfortunately for the Heat, both Robert Williams III and Marcus Smart were able to come in and play, and as I thought the other day, this series is really coming down to who has the healthier bodies.
Jayson Tatum had trouble with his shot in the first half, finishing 1 of 9 from the field with four points, but he did better in the second half with a 6 of 11 performance from the field and ended the game an assist shy of a triple-double with 22 points, 12 rebounds and nine assists.
Jaylen Brown provided great cover for Tatum’s struggles from the field as well, finishing with 25 points and four rebounds while shooting 10 of 19 overall and 5 of 9 from beyond the arc.
Al Horford also deserves credit, as he helped keep the Celtics afloat in the first half before finishing the game with 16 points, seven rebounds, five assists, a steal and two blocks.
The Celtics turned the game around in the third quarter, where they outscored the Heat 32-16 before winning the game 93-80. They badly needed that, because now they put the heavy pressure on the Heat.
Coach Ime Udoka knows this isn’t quite over yet, but had encouraging words for his squad at the end of the game.
This series has had a ton of twists and turns, so it wouldn’t surprise me if the Heat forced a Game 7. They’re going to have to perform far better on offense, though, as Miami finished the game shooting 31.9% over all and 15.6% from beyond the arc. They made 7 of 45 three-pointers, so they might consider trying to force a battle in the paint next game.
You’ve got to win ugly games to make the Finals sometimes, and the Celtics managed to take this one. Let’s see if the Heat have enough in the tank to deliver an appropriate response in a couple of days.