MIAMI – Don’t look at this tape. You can bury it. Burn it. Take it out of the NBA archives. – Celtics On Wednesday, it wasn’t really a game. It was a fight. It would have been canceled at the half-time if it was a TV program. If it had been a movie, it would have received a Razzie. ESPN would have been forgiven had it not cut into the game for special coverage of Tom Brady’s (alleged?) golf shot.
Boston won Game 5 and took a 3-2 series advantage. Viewers lost. After the first quarter, it was 19-17 Miami. At halftime, it was 42-37 for the Heat. Boston’s three-quarter and two quarters saw a 25% increase in points. That’s quite a difference from Miami’s 19%. The Celtics had 10 more turnovers in the first period than they had in all of Game 4. Jayson Takum & Jaylen Cleveland scored 19%, which is the worst combined field goal percentage for any half of this season.
In the second quarter, the Celtics made it clear. Flipping was Ime Uroka’s message from the locker room. Boston was able to do just that. It outscored Miami 32-16 during the third quarter. It cut the turnovers in half. Brown’s half-time performance was disastrous. He had six points. He was responsible for 4 of the Celtics’ 10 turnovers. Udoka pulled Brown aside and asked him whether he was surprised by the Heat’s grabbing and poking of the ball.
Brown responded in the second half. He had six points during the third quarter. He had a team record of 13 points for the fourth quarter. He hit five of his six shots within the final 12 minutes, including three three-pointers. Udoka, when asked what had changed for Brown, said that he didn’t “turn it over”.
“First Half was s —,” Brown. “It was useless. The second half was basketball.
Boston has relied upon its NBA-best defense for all of the season. It’s what kept them in the game Wednesday. The first part of the game was terrible. Miami had 26 points at the line. It had 16-second chance shots. It had 9 offensive rebounds, giving Heat a 26-21 lead overall.
Miami was up only five. The Heat offense is a disaster. Jimmy Butler has been unable to play because of a knee injury and was limited to screener duties. Udoka stated, “Butler wasn’t looking to score.” Kyle Lowry doesn’t have any burst. Tyler Herro the reigning Sixth Men of the Year is out with a Groin Injury. Bam Adebayo (Miami) and Gabe Vincent (Miami) were the two top scorers during Game 5. The Heat had 45 three-pointers. They made seven. It’s not enough to withstand the terrorizing Celtics defense.
Udoka stated, “The mental stress that we put on some team with our defense has worked well and carried us through to the playoffs.” “Having so many bodies to throw against people wears down [them] both mentally and physically… our defense travels smoothly.”
The NBA should think about suspending the series. They won’t. Can’t do it. These are not rosters. They are M.A.S.H. units. Marcus Smart is unable to walk. Robert Williams, too. Butler’s knee problem is so severe that he has to take set shots. Lowry isn’t even considering going for the basket. Tatum is reaching for his right arm while he waits between timeouts.
The Celtics will travel home on Friday, and this series must end. It should be over. Finished. Kaput. Boston lost the opener after a meltdown in the third quarter. A comedy of errors–24 turnovers!–vaporized the Celtics’ chances to win Game 3. Boston trailed by 2-1 in the first three games despite only losing two quarters.
Miami is broken. Beaten. Butler stated that “I needed to find a solution.” It doesn’t matter. The Heat are as competitive in defense and as physical in the court, but they don’t have enough firepower to beat a Boston defense. Miami will need the Celtics to beat them if they are to win this series. They have failed to win two consecutive games.
Brown stated that it was important to breathe and relax when closing Miami. Sometimes we get a bit too anxious because we understand how important these moments can be. We can just play our games and be okay.
Game 5 was the worst of a series full of ugly games.
You don’t have to worry, there should be just one more.