The blowout victory has defined this year’s Eastern Conference Finals, and the Boston Celtics and Miami Heat are locked in a battle for who can take a 20-point lead first!
The biggest lead in Game 1 was 20 for Miami, 34 for Boston in Game 2, 26 for Miami in Game 3 and 32 for Boston in Game 4.
Wouldn’t any game in the series be a complete blowout?
The series was tied 2-2 in Miami on Wednesday night, with both teams feeling the pressure for a massive victory that brought them one step closer to the NBA Finals.
The Miami Heat, who led by 5 at halftime, looked to have the upper hand after holding Boston to 37 in the first half, but then the Celtics got hot in the third quarter to beat Miami 32-16 The team had an 11-point lead going into the fourth quarter.
The second half of Game 5 was all Boston, as the Celtics beat Miami 56-38 to win 93-80 and take a 3-2 series lead in Game 6 on Friday.
This performance from the Celtics was impressive not only because they struggled offensively and came from behind to win, but also because it was their second straight game to keep the Heat below 82 points.
With just one win left in the NBA Finals, the Boston Celtics can beat the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference at home.
There’s a lot to talk about in Game 5, so let’s take a look at three key takeaways from the game.
Boston’s defense has blueprint for Miami’s offense
Going back to Boston’s Game 4, it’s clear the Celtics now have the upper hand in this series because of what they’ve done on the defensive end. Even going back to Game 1, you can see the progress head coach Ime Udoka and his team have made.
Miami had great success with the offensive pick-and-roll in Game 1 of this series, and Jimmy Butler has his way from anywhere on the floor. The Heat won Game 1 118-107.
Since then, they’ve only scored more than 102 points once, and they’ve stayed at 82 and 80 in their last two games.
It’s no coincidence that Boston has five players that have earned Defensive Player of the Year consideration in its starting rotation this season. The Celtics are an elite defensive team, and the tweaks they made on this end of the court allowed them to win three of the final four games of the Eastern Conference Finals series.
Perhaps the biggest adjustment Boston has made defensively is not allowing Max Struth and other perimeter players to feel comfortable. Grant Williams and Jaylen Brown deserve credit for their perimeter defenses, but one of the Celtics’ most impactful defenders is Derrick White off the bench.
In the past few games, the Heat’s guard didn’t have any space to operate on the perimeter, and in Game 5, the Heat never got the shot they wanted because Boston was stronger on the defensive end.
Aside from Jimmy Butler, no one on Miami’s roster is at his best offensively, directly because of the adjustments the Celtics have made defensively this series.
Heat have no consistent scoring threat beyond Jimmy Butler
The Heat’s offense against Boston has really been unsuccessful since Game 1. Jimmy Butler, their only true “go-to” scorer, didn’t look right due to a knee problem, and the Heat’s offense was lifeless at times.
They’ve been held to 82 points or less in each of the past two games against the Celtics, and if you’re a Heat fan, there’s real reason to worry now because no one is stepping up.
With Bam Adebayo under control, Kyle Lowry plagued by a hamstring injury, Tyler Herro missing the last two games with a groin injury, Jimmy Butler can’t do anything for this team.
With Adebayo and Lowry not affecting the game’s scoring, the Heat have only Victor Oladipo, Max Struth and Gabe Vincent to turn to.
Those three guys can’t compete with the likes of Jayson Tayum and Jaylen Brown, which is why the Heat now find themselves on the 3-2 hole in this series.
Perhaps the biggest takeaway we can get from this series right now is that while Miami is a great defensive team and definitely a title contender, they’re just a short distance from actually winning a championship. This piece is another elite scoring option next to Butler, and while Bam Adebayo may be that type of player, he’s proven in these playoffs that he can be very inconsistent on offense .
In the offseason, Adebayo really needs to beef up his offense and become more aggressive in the paint, otherwise, Miami may have to look elsewhere for other All-Stars to partner with Butler in hopes of winning a championship.
Robert Williams III key to Celtics success
Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown are the Celtics’ elite scoring options, Al Horford has been great with the C’s, and Derrick White did come off the bench in this series.
However, the Celtics’ most important player is Robert Williams III, whose tenacity on the defensive end has made Boston a true title contender.
While he faltered at times in the series with sore knees, Williams went on to show why he’s one of the best rim protectors in the league in this series, and he was in Game 5 on Wednesday. The game had a huge impact on the night.
Robert Williams finished Game 4 of the series with 6 points, 10 rebounds, 1 steal and 3 blocks with at least 2 blocks.
All night, Miami looked to attack the paint against Boston, but they were either rejected by Williams or sent back for his ability to fight shots.
He probably won’t have much of an impact on offense, but Robert Williams III is a staple on the Celtics’ defensive end, and his ability to counter any shot at the rim does change the way opponents play.
The Heat have struggled to get into the paint in this series, especially center Bam Adebayo, and credit Williams for that. At just 24 years old, Williams quickly transformed himself into an influential defensive center in the NBA.
NBA basketball news
- Complete 2022 NBA Playoffs Schedule, Results, Game Times, TV, Spreads: Fastbreak on FanNation updates the results and schedule for every game of the 2022 NBA playoffs. click here.
- Kyle Lowry’s bold quote after Game 5: Kyle Lowry spoke to the media after the Miami Heat lost to the Boston Celtics in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference. The Celtics now lead 3-2. click here.
- Jimmy Butler makes bold quote about knee injury after Game 5: Jimmy Butler spoke to the media after the Miami Heat lost to the Boston Celtics in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Finals. The series now leads the Celtics 3-2. click here.