The Boston Celtics know the formula. They believe that their defense, as has been repeated in this playoff, will ultimately defeat the teams.
Hard to argue.
Jaylen Brown added 25 points, Jayson Tatum added 22 and the Celtics now have one win from the NBA Finals. They fled after half-time and beat the Miami Hits 93-80 in five games to take a 3-2 lead in the Best-Seven Eastern Conference Final Series.
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It was a sensational change from Brown, who fought hard in the first half as his Celtics trailed by five points at the break.
The 25-year-old was widely pan-socialized for his first-half turnover, with 2008 Celtics Championship-winner Kendrick Perkins even joining the pile-on.
However, Brown responded in stunning fashion in the second half, pouring 13 of his 25 points in the fourth quarter to help the Celtics advance to their first NBA Finals appearance since 2010.
Celtics coach Ime Udoka said: “I think the pressure and pressure we put on some teams with our defense worked and sometimes took us through the playoffs.”
Al Harford added 16 points and Derrick White added 14 for the Celtics. Tatum finished with 12 rebounds and nine assists.
Bam Adebayo scored 18 points and rebounded 10 for the hit, who shot 32 percent in the game – after shooting 33 percent in Boston’s fourth 20-point fourth game. Gabe Vincent added 15, Jimmy Butler 13 and Duncan Robinson 11 for Miami.
There was heat in the 3-point range from 45 to 7. They played without injured Tyler Hero (groin) and several Miami players were suspected of entering the day due to various illnesses.
“We’re not going to make any deviations or make any excuses,” said hit coach Eric Spoilstra. “Boston beat us tonight. And let’s be clear about that. There are guys who are 100 percent away from both sides.”
There will be six matches in Boston on Saturday, with a pair of trophies bearing the names of the Celtic legends awaiting. The Bob Cushy Trophy goes to the East Champions, the Larry Bird Trophy goes to the East Final MVP and the Celtics take a win from their lifting.
“We’ve had the opportunity to do something special with this team,” Brown said.
The series has seen tremendous momentum – 44-14 Miami runs in one game, 60-21 Boston runs in the second game, 46-20 Miami to Open Game Three and 57-33 Boston runs in the same game, and four openings played by the Celtics 26-4. For.
The game was as big as five runs.
Score in six and a half minutes of the second half: Celtics 24, hit two. The turnaround was 59-58 Boston to 83-60 Boston.
“It was tough in the first half because we weren’t hitting shots and we were flipping the ball,” Harford said. But the main thing for us was to continue what we defend and then how we play on crime. And finally we were able to turn it around. “
Boston beat Miami 32-16 in the third quarter, holding the hit to 17 percent shooting. At that point the gap was just 11 – but Boston started the fourth quarter with a 14-2 lead, Brown overcame the tension by making three three-pointers in two and a half minutes and the lead was 23 out.
Brown then sealed matters with a down-the-lane dunk at 5:19 left, the lead was 18 at the time and the countdown for Boston was underway.
“We’re still in line,” Adebayo said. “We still have to play these games. We still want to win.”
The Celtics have not reached the NBA Finals since 2010. There have been four East Final Trips since then, two lost to Miami and two to Cleveland. There are also two chances like Friday – six against the Heat in 2012 and seven against the Cavaliers in 2018 – when the Celtics had a chance to claim the conference title by winning a game on their home floor.
They both lost, with LeBron James twice serving as the official quarterback, taking 45 points to save Miami in the 2012 game and 35 points to Cleveland in the 2018 Clincher.
He will not be on the way to Celtics this time.
Miami will need someone to give you a hint of disguise.
“We know what we’re capable of,” Butler insisted.
There was a lack of crime in the first half. Miami leads 19-17 and 42-37 at break. At intervals, Tatum was 1-of-9, Butler 2-of-8, and the teams combined shot 37.8 percent off the field and 21.6 percent from the three-point range.
Miami, somehow, went cold to start the second half. The Celtics did not.
The Heat missed their first nine shots from the field after the break, until Butler cut off contact and scored on a drive that gave Miami a 49-48 lead with 6:53 remaining in the third.
But soon, the Celtics had control. Of the game. And series.
“If you want to get a ticket to the finals, you have to do some ridiculously difficult things,” Spoelstra said.
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