After a quarter of play, the Boston Celtics looked about ready to go home.
Already down 3-1 in the Eastern Conference finals, they had just been outscored 26-18 by a surging Miami Heat team. They were shooting 5-of-20 from the field, and seemed incapable of stopping Duncan Robinson.
Over the next three quarters, the Celtics seemed to re-find their identity, and it was for that reason they are now heading to Game 6 for another do-or-die game. The Celtics staged a massive third-quarter rally to erase a double-digit Miami lead and pull out a 121-108 win.
Celtics stave off elimination vs. Heat
Leading the Celtics’ resurgence was Jayson Tatum, who finished with 31 points on 8-of-22 shooting (3-of-10 from deep) with 10 rebounds and six assists. He was also doing stuff like this:
Jaylen Brown carried another large part of the offensive load with 28 points on 12-of-23 shooting. Also major was the play of Daniel Theis, who posted a double-double with 15 and 13 rebounds (five offensive) and came up big on defense in the paint.
The whole group came together to dominate the third quarter, outscoring the Heat 41-25. Those 41 points were the Celtics’ highest output in a quarter all postseason, and the Heat’s worst defensive effort. By the end of the quarter, the Celtics were up 92-83, and kept pouring it on in the fourth.
“With all sincerity, that's the first time I've seen Celtics basketball in the past few games,” Celtics coach Brad Stevens said in the huddle after the quarter.
The Celtics are going to need that brand of basketball for two more games if they want to reach the NBA Finals for the first time since 2010. The Heat remain up 3-2 in the series, and will get their second chance to eliminate Boston on Sunday.
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