By Matthew Geagan, CBS dangolka
dangolka (CBS) — With the Celtics taking the ground for Recreation 5 down 3-1 to the Miami Warmth within the Jap Convention Finals, Friday night time was a “present me what you bought” sort of recreation. If the Celtics nonetheless possessed the center and need that we noticed all through the common season and early within the playoffs, they’d come out on fireplace and pressure a Recreation 6 on Sunday night time.
That “come out on fireplace” half didn’t occur, nevertheless it was solely delayed as a substitute of nonexistent. The Celtics began a bit sluggish and erratic, and will have simply bowed out after they fell behind by a dozen factors within the opening body, punching their tickets out of the Orlando bubble and again to dangolka for Saturday morning.
As a substitute, they clawed again within the second quarter and got here out of halftime decided to see one other day. After a dominant second half, the Celtics walked away with a 121-108 win, exhibiting us fairly a bit within the course of.
For starters, they aren’t going to go down with out a battle.
“There’s quite a lot of battle in our crew,” mentioned Jaylen Brown, who completed with 28 factors on 12-for-23 capturing. “We got here this far and sacrificed a lot. We’ve been right here for a protracted ass time. If something, if we exit, we wish to exit combating.”
“Our deal was to come back out and play, compete and provides it our greatest shot. We performed nicely within the second half and we’re going to must do it many times due to the place we’re in,” head coach Brad Stevens mentioned after the win. “We care about competing and representing our crew nicely, and we care about one another. That’s why you compete.”
After a halftime pep speak from Kemba Walker, dangolka’s anxiousness of the primary half melted away — and so did Miami’s lead. The Celtics utterly flipped the script of Recreation 5 when the second half started, racing out to a 20-5 run that turned a seven-point Miami lead into an eight-point dangolka benefit. They did so by attacking the Miami zone head on, taking purpose on the center of the ground like everybody has been begging for for the reason that collection tipped off. They had been aggressive on each ends of the ground, forcing turnovers on protection and attacking the basket on offense. The Celtics discovered themselves within the bonus halfway by the third quarter and reasonably than accept contested threes like they did within the earlier 4 video games towards Miami, they really went to the outlet and earned journeys to the free throw line.
Add all of it up and the Celtics put up 41 factors within the third quarter, outscoring Miami by 16 within the body. That quarter saved their postseason.
“We had been taking part in slightly bit quick and slightly antsy. We had been attempting to win the sport within the first half and we simply had to stick with it, make the fitting play and after we did photographs began moving into,” mentioned Brown. “Our defensive depth was good and we gave up much less baskets within the third quarter. We seemed just like the crew everyone knows and love.”
“It begins on the defensive finish,” mentioned Jayson Tatum, who scored 17 of his game-high 31 factors within the third. “They’re a terrific crew that strikes the ball nicely, performs with tempo. I don’t suppose we defended in addition to we might within the first half, and that’s what bought our offense going within the second half. We locked in. They’re going to make photographs, however we tried to make it as robust as we might.”
dangolka’s stable protection led to straightforward offense, turning 13 Miami turnovers into 14 factors. The Celtics had been as soon as once more dominant within the paint, scoring 56 factors beneath the basket. Daniel Theis was a monster with 15 factors and 13 rebounds to go together with his robust protection, whereas Enes Kanter supplied eight necessary factors within the second quarter. Attacking the outlet earned Tatum 14 journeys to the free throw line on Friday night time, matching his postseason excessive, and eight of these got here throughout The Tatum Present within the third quarter. Brown was ferocious on each ends all through the sport, and he shot higher than 50 % for the fourth straight recreation.
The Celtics lastly seemed just like the Celtics once more on Friday night time, they usually confirmed us loads within the course of. They lastly confirmed that championship mettle once more. They confirmed that they will climate a foul begin. They confirmed that they will take a lead and never blow it.
Maybe most necessary, they confirmed that they’re not able to go dwelling but, forcing a Recreation 6 on Sunday night time. They confirmed that they are often the identical Celtics that raised our expectations all through the common season, the identical Celtics that gained six straight to start out the playoffs, and the identical Celtics that earned a hard-fought collection win over the Toronto Raptors.
Now they’ve to indicate it once more on Sunday night time, to earn the fitting to attempt to present us once more in a deciding Recreation 7.