Derrick White had 24 points, including six 3-pointers, and the Boston Celtics dominated the Miami Heat 110-97 on Thursday night in Game 5 to extend the Eastern Conference finals.
Marcus Smart had 23 points and five steals. Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown each finished with 21 points as the Celtics earned their second straight victory and cut Miami’s series lead to 3-2.
It keeps alive Boston’s hopes of becoming the first team in NBA history to overcome a 3-0 deficit to win a series. Teams previously at that position are 0-150 all-time.
Game 6 is Saturday in Miami.
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One day after the Florida Panthers earned the franchise’s first berth to the Stanley Cup Finals since 1996, for the second straight game the Heat were denied a berth in the NBA Finals.
Duncan Robinson led the Heat with 18 points. Bam Adebayo added 16 points and eight rebounds. Jimmy Butler had 14 points, five rebounds and five assists, but sat out the final 9:47 of the game. Caleb Martin finished with 14 points.
It was Butler’s lowest scoring game of the playoffs. He scored 16 points in Game 3, a blowout victory for Miami.
Miami never led and had 16 turnovers.
Boston started the day just 4-5 at TD Garden this postseason. But with a rowdy home crowd behind them, the Celtics thrived on their energy.
They dove for fumbles, outrebounded Miami and found themselves on layups and dunks in transition while racking up as many as 20 points in the first half.
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The Heat stepped in, but Boston kept hitting 3-pointers and increased their lead to 96-72 in the fourth quarter.
The Boston fans reignited a «Beat the Heat!» chant that hadn’t been frequent since Game 1.
The Heat started Kyle Lowry at point guard after Gabe Vincent was ruled out with a sprained left ankle earlier that day. It was Lowry’s first start since February 2.
Vincent, the Heat’s third leading scorer this postseason, was hurt late in Miami’s Game 4 loss when he landed awkwardly while trying to save a fumble near the Heat’s bench.
His presence was lost when Miami struggled early on the offensive end, surrounded by a Celtics defense that forced the Heat into 10 first-half turnovers that led to 17 Boston points. Lowry played 31 minutes, scored five points and finished with four turnovers.
Heat: They were outscored 13-0 on second-half points in the first 24 minutes.
Celtics: Al Horford had six points and 11 rebounds. … The Celtics took a 61-44 halftime lead. … Boston’s first turnover of the game didn’t come until 8:16 of the second quarter.
The Celtics got off to the fast start they had hoped for in front of their home crowd.
Smart stripped Adebayo on Miami’s opening possession, starting a fast break and layup at the other end by Tatum.
Then, with the game tied at 4, Tatum broke free into lane for a monster two-handed dunk. He hung from the hoop afterwards and continued to hold him when he landed, triggering a technical foul.
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It didn’t stop the Celtics’ momentum, as their first-quarter lead grew to 23-7. Boston finished the period with a 35-20 lead, punctuated by White’s 3-pointer at the buzzer.
Tatum scored 12 points in the first 12 minutes as the Celtics outscored the Heat 21-6 from beyond the arc. Boston made 7 of their 12 attempts.
Celtics Hall of Famer Paul Pierce, NCAA President Charlie Baker and New England Patriots Matt Slater and Devin McCourty were among several celebrities at the Garden.