Boston greens up: The Celtics rested on a fiery first quarter and in-form starters to win at home against the Heat (110-97) and come back to 3-2 in their Eastern Conference final on Thursday 25 May, in the NBA playoffs. They've come halfway. Starting at 3-0, a deficit never climbed in the history of the NBA on a series in seven games, despite 150 occasions, the Celtics confirmed their return to form in a TD Garden inflated to block.
But if the dream of a miracle begins to take shape, the continuation of the confrontation, Saturday in Miami, will send them again into hostile territory, under the threat, again, of an elimination in the form of disillusion. "The only thing that can stop us is ourselves," warned Boston winger Jaylen Brown, returning to efficiency with 21 points (9/18 shooting).
Like him, three other Celtics starters have stacked more than 20 units: franchise offensive leader Jayson Tatum also contributed 21 (11 assists, 8 rebounds), Marcus Smart signed 23 and Derrick White, the most prolific, 24.
The grand finalist of last season thus seems to have regained the collective momentum that sometimes makes him irresistible, even if such mastery has only been intermittent in recent months. After breaking away in the third quarter in the previous game, Boston built its success of the day on the foundations of a stunning first twelve minutes, won hands down (35-20) with great shots of award-winning shots.
"We set the tone from start to finish"
Facing a Heat not up to the challenge, the Celtics only let up at the very end, giving up a few lengths ahead. "We were the toughest team tonight," Brown said. We set the tone from start to finish. »
In fact, Miami suffered, like its playmaker, Jimmy Butler, author of his worst offensive performance in the playoffs with only 14 points (5 rebounds, 5 assists). He also remained on the bench for the majority of the last recovery. In that game where Gabe Vincent, out with a sprained ankle, missed, it was Duncan Robinson (18 points) who led the Heat's offense, with inside Bam Adebayo adding 16 units.
Despite this second defeat in a row, Miami remains in favorable tie to try to play a seventh grand final, with a fourth league title in sight (after 2006, 2012 and 2013).
The sixth game on Saturday, which will give the Floridians the opportunity to conclude in front of their home crowd, will be all the more critical since it is difficult to see how these perked up Celtics could miss the boat in their enclosure in the event of a final shock, less less unlikely.