Celtics Force Game Six After 0-3 Start

The Celtics were able to stave off elimination once again as they win game five 110-97, showing signs of life winning two straight after falling down 3-0.

After a 116-99 beat down in game four saved them the embarrassment of getting swept, the Celtics headed home for a game five, where they showed they want more than to just avoid the sweep.

Starting out on fire early, the Celtics got out to a 20-5 lead, and didn’t let up the rest of the way, never letting the game get within single digits.

Both their calling cards, from last season, and this season made an appearance as their defense was stifling and the three ball was automatic. Whoever shot it, hit it. 

The Three Ball

Shooting 41% from three, the Celtics are now enjoying a hot stretch as they shot 40% from game four as well, after struggling from three in the first three games. Continuing this hot stretch could be key to the Celtics success.

Derrick White was a key contributor in that facet of the game tonight as he set his playoff career high with six threes, three of them coming in the first quarter alone.

As for Miami, they started the series on fire shooting 47% through the first three games but have been held to just 32% in the last two. 

That’s a recipe for success for this Boston team.


Defensively, though, is where this team has flipped this series around, and it’s what they’ll need to keep doing if they want to continue this success. 

They forced 16 turnovers in game five, turning them into 27 points. They completely dominated that part of the game.

That’s a great sign, as it has been a rocky start to these playoffs on the defensive side, as they’ve shown both, incredible efforts and embarrassing efforts without any consistency or idea of which effort will show up next game.

This isn’t a shock though, with how well the offense has been this season, the Celtics sometimes fall into defensive lulls because they can rely on offensive success, and it keeping them afloat in most games even without great defense. 

But that’s the wrong approach when it comes to the playoffs, especially when your identity is defense. So far this postseason(before the last two wins) they’re allowing 114 points per 100 possessions, whereas last year they only allowed 106.

They’re lucky that it hasn’t burnt them yet, but it has got them into some rocky situations. 

Letting Atlanta win two games, allowing Philly to get you into a win or go home situation, and now of course falling down 3-0 before winning two in this Eastern Conference Finals. 

When this team does clamp down on the defensive side though, they’re virtually unbeatable. Everything is hard for the opposing offense, they have the ability to smother teams. 

After falling down 3-2 to the Sixers allowing 108 points per game, they won the next two games to advance to the next round by holding the Sixers to just 86 points in game six and 88 in game seven.

After falling down 3-0 to Miami allowing 120 a game, they once again turned up their defense and have held the Heat below 100 in back to back games to claw their way back into the series. 

If they want to make history by being the first team ever to win a series after going down 3-0, they’re going to need to continue to dominate on defense and letting that side of the ball set the tone.

Celtics Stars

Jayson Tatum, who is starting to become a sort of mythical creature now in elimination games, came through once again with the season on the line, dominating all facets of the game.

He finished with 21 points, 11 assists and eight rebounds. And his defense was special too, finishing with two steals and plenty of deflections and contested shots.

Jaylen Brown after struggling most of the series was back to his more normal self finishing with 21 on 9 for 18 shooting.

The guards were also fantastic as Marcus Smart looked like his Defensive Player of The Year self as he had five steals to go along with 23 points, and the aforementioned Derrick White was automatic tonight finishing with 24 and playing some great defense as well.

Up Next

The Heat haven’t looked great in either of the last two games. It is easy to let off the gas when you’re up 3-0 and 3-1, but being at home game six will have the Heat locked and loaded. They don’t want to get it to a game 7, especially not one that’s on the road.

Now a series at 3-2, the Celtics head back to Miami to try and do just that, get it back to the garden one more time. Expect it to be a war.

The Boston Celtics are now just two wins away from history.

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