We just witnessed Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Finals series between the Boston Celtics and Miami Heat. Facing elimination, doubts and the cloud of a 3-1 series deficit, the Celtics responded and won, 121-108, to keep their season alive.
It’s been an interesting match-up as it has given us a wide share of ups and downs from both squads, as well all-around hard-nosed basketball. We should continue seeing the crazy trends moving forward.
Here are my takeaways from the game:
Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown will dominate the league together
We’re in an era where superstar tandems are the “in” thing again, and though the Celtics currently have a second-tier type of trio more than anything, with Tatum, Brown, and Kemba Walker, their two rising stars are looking really, really good.
Tatum, 22, and Brown, 23, are young and have a ton of time to further polish their games, which is scary when you consider what they’re already doing. Their 1-2 punch can only be more explosive, and I hope the league has already been put on notice.
The ‘Two Jays’ lit up the Heat defense in Game 5 as they combined for 59 points on 20-for-37 shooting. Tatum, who scored a game-high 31, had 17 in the third quarter, while Brown had 18 of his 28 in the second half.
Kemba Walker can give a good pep talk
The Celtics went into haltfime down 58-51 and also trailed by as much 12 before that. It did not look good. According to Jaylen Brown, the struggles may have been due to their excessive eagerness, claiming they were trying to win the game in the first half.
Jaylen Brown on the difference between how Boston played in the first and second halves: "We were trying to win the game in the first half."— Tim Bontemps (@TimBontemps) September 26, 2020
Fortunately, Kemba Walker channelled his inner motivational speaker persona, as he turned into ‘Zen Kemba,’ a good alternate to his in-game alter ego: Cardiac Kemba.
The veteran guard is averaging over 19 PPG in the postseason but he’s gone hot-and-cold and is now playing behind Tatum and Brown. It’s all good, though, as the simple halftime note sparked Boston into making that 41-25 third quarter outburst.
The fouls continue to become buzzkills
The foul calls are a hot topic among hoop fans today as the two Conference Finals series have had a string of controversial, ticky-tack officiating. Game 5 of the Celtics-Heat series continued the trend.
While the majority are arguable calls, it’s quite far from the usual, playoff-style refereeing that we’ve been accustomed to. Everyone’s momentum is getting halted and it may be causing teams to unintentionally slow the game down.
Game 5 had 28 fouls in the SECOND HALF ALONE. You can’t tell me that the game was that physical.
The Heat like to over-pass
…and it can be infuriating. It’s fixable, but it may be one of the few downsides of having a core like Miami’s, where everyone’s a shooter and a willing passer. The ball gets rotated several times, sometimes unnecessarily, so there’s a tendency to turn it over.
The over-passing in Game 5 became inexplicable in the crucial stages of the fourth quarter, when they were down by 10-plus points and there were under five minutes remaining. At that point, you’d expect some aggressiveness and urgency in getting into whatever the play is, but there was none. They just remained slow.
It was weird to not see their usual cutthroat style. We just saw it in their series against the top-seeded Milwaukee Bucks, and now it seems like it they don’t even know they can do it.
Lastly, although the Heat struggled from three (7-for-36, 19.4%), I thought they should’ve kept firing during that final period. I expected some trust on their outside shooting since they had the second-highest three-point percentage in the league.