After a huge Game 5 win on Friday Night to keep their season alive, the Celtics have to duplicate that effort once again as they try to force a pivotal Game 7 against the Miami Heat on Wednesday Night.
The Celtics were lead in the second half by Jayson Tatum, Marcus Smart, and Kemba Walker. Jaylen Brown got hot late in the game as the Celtics bench also contributed and Gordon Hayward still provided a spark on the floor as he was much more focused in Game 5 than we was during Game 4, however Hayward had an excuse for his mind being elsewhere. However, his. mindset was in the right place on Friday Night.
The Celtics finally found a weakness in Miami's game and it benefited the Celtics for much of the second half. The Heat started missing shots, especially from three point range, and that allowed the Celtics to finally pick apart the Heat's defense, drive and the net and score points. Quickly the Celtics turned a 12 point deficit into a 12 point lead and the Het had no answer.
The Celtics were able to contain both Jimmy Butler and Tyler Herro for a good chunk of the second half in Game 5, which what helped the Celtics to a 121-108 win to keep the 2019-2020 campaign alive.
However, the Celtics have to do something that the Heat haven't done these entire playoffs and this win two consecutive games in a row to put Miami on their heels. Granted, given how they played the other night, the Heat are already on their toes and the pressure is on them to close out the series tonight. For the Celtics, they got nothing to lose, just go out there and play Boston Celtic basketball, something Brad Stevens said during the game on Friday evening, that the second half explosion was the first time he truly saw Celtics basketball in this series.
Not like the Celtics haven't played well this series. The C's have outscored the Heat through five games, but the reason why the Heat are up 3-2 and not the Celtics is because the turnover differential and points off turnovers benefits the Heat drastically. Now the Celtics were able to bridge that gap in Game 5 in the second half and late in Game 4, but the Celtics still need to do a lot better at taking care of the basketball and not allowing the Heat extra possessions. That's how you get in trouble in these type of games. The same can be said for all sports.
Keys to tonight win or go home game for the Celtics is to play the same way they played in the second half on game 5. Play loose and play together as a unit. Drive the ball to the net and force Miami stop you and foul you. It became apparent in Game 5 that when you drive the net and force fouls, it leads to long-term success throughout the night. Once again find a way to contain Jimmy Butler, Tyler Herro and Bam Adebayo in this game and force the Heats bench to score valuable points in valuable minutes.
The most important key for the Celtics, and this happened to the twice already this series, if the C's build a 20 point lead early, do not let up defensively and keep driving the net to either keep extending the leader score buckets to make a comeback extremely hard for the Heat. Allowing the Heat those extra possessions in the second, like the was case in the first two games of this series, will give the heat confidence heading throughout the second half of the game.
The Celtics have won two games this series but they have yet to put together a full 48-minute effort. If the Celtics were to play their best 48 minutes at some point this series, tonight would be the night and force that seventh game.