Celtics bring series back to Miami, moving closer to NBA history

Derrick White scored 24 points, including six three-pointers. Boston Celtics dominated the Miami Heat 110–97 on Thursday night in Game 5, extending the Eastern Conference Finals.

Marcus Smart had 23 points and five steals. Jason Tatum and Jaylen Brown finished with 21 points each as the Celtics took their second win in a row to tie the game. Miami Series leads to 3-2.

This bolsters Boston’s hopes of becoming the first team in NBA history to close a 3-0 gap and win the series. Teams previously holding this position are 0-150 all-time.

The sixth game will take place on Saturday in Miami.


Jason Tatum and Grant Williams

#0 Jason Tatum nails #12 Grant Williams of the Boston Celtics in the first quarter against the Miami Heat in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Finals at TD Garden on May 25, 2023 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Maddy Meyer/Getty Images)

The day after the Florida Panthers won their first Stanley Cup Final berth since 1996, the Heat were denied a place in the NBA Finals for the second straight game.

Duncan Robinson led the hit with 18 points. Bam Adebayo had 16 points and eight rebounds. Jimmy Butler had 14 points, five rebounds and five assists but missed the last 9:47 of the game. Caleb Martin finished with 14 points.

It was Butler’s highest-scoring playoff game. He had 16 points in Game 3, a crushing victory for Miami.

Miami never led the way and had 16 losses.

Boston started the game 4-5 at TD Garden this postseason. But with a raucous home crowd at their back, the Celtics thrived on their energy.

They dived for lost balls, beat Miami on rebounds, and found each other through layups and transition dunks, scoring a whopping 20 points in the first half.

jaylen brown dunks

Jaylen Brown #7 of the Boston Celtics scores a field goal against the Miami Heat in the second quarter of Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Finals at the TD Garden on May 25, 2023 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Maddy Meyer/Getty Images)


The Heat intervened, but Boston kept hitting triples and extended their lead to 96–72 in the fourth quarter.

Boston fans re-lit “Kick the Heat!” sing that wasn’t there distributed from the first game.

The Heat started Kyle Lowry as point guard after Gabe Vincent was ruled out with a sprained left ankle earlier in the day. It was Lowry’s first start since February. 2.

Vincent, the Heat’s third leading scorer this postseason, was injured late in Miami’s Game 4 loss when he landed awkwardly while trying to salvage a lost ball near the bench.

His presence was squandered as Miami struggled in the early offensive, surrounded by a Celtics defense that forced the Heat to 10 turnovers in the first half, leading to 17 points for Boston. Lowry played 31 minutes, scored five points and finished with four losses.


Hit: We lost 13-0 on points in the second half in the first 24 minutes.

Celtics: Al Horford added six points and 11 rebounds. … At halftime, the Celtics won 61–44. … Boston’s first loss of the game came just after the 8:16 mark in the second quarter.


The Celtics got off to the fast start they had hoped for in front of their home crowd.

Smart denied Adebayo on Miami’s first possession, prompting a fast-break and layup for Tatum on the other end.

Then, with the game tied at 4, Tatum freed himself on the lane for a monster two-handed dunk. After that, he hung on the ring and continued to celebrate as he landed, resulting in a technical foul.

Jaylen Brown

#7 Jaylen Brown of the Boston Celtics reacts to the Miami Heat in the second quarter of Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Finals at the TD Garden on May 25, 2023 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Maddy Meyer/Getty Images)


That didn’t stop the Celtics’ momentum as their first-quarter lead grew to 23-7. Boston ended the period 35–20, punctuated by White’s three-pointer on cue.

Tatum scored 12 points in the first 12 minutes as the Celtics edged out the Heat 21-6 from three. Boston scored 7 of 12 attempts.


Celtics Hall of Famer Paul Pierce, NCAA President Charlie Baker, and New England Patriots Matt Slater and Devin McCourty were among several celebrities in the Garden.