The Boston Celtics are halfway to accomplishing something that has never been done before in the history of the National Basketball Association playoffs.
The Celtics defeated the Miami Heat 110-97 in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Finals on Thursday night in Boston. After dropping the first three games of the best of seven series, the Celtics have won the last two games in dominating fashion to force a sixth game on Saturday night in Miami.
Boston is attempting to become the first team in NBA history to win a playoff series after trailing 3-0. There have been 150 teams that have faced the same predicament and none have managed to win the series. The Celtics did become the 15th team out of those 150 to win two games and force a Game 6 in the series.
Sparked by a raucous home crowd at the TD Garden Arena, the Celtics dominated the game from start to finish; and it was St. Louisan Jayson Tatum that got them rolling with 12 first quarter points as the Celtics to a 35-20 lead. Tatum finished with 21 points, eight rebounds and 11 assists on eight of 16 shooting from the field.
Tatum was one of four Celtics' players who scored at least 20 points in the game. Derrick White led the way with 24 points, including six of eight shooting from 3-point range. Marcus Smart scored 23 points, including four 3-pointers and Jaylen Brown added 21 points. For the second consecutive game, the Celtics shot at least 40 percent from 3-point range. They made 16 of 39 from long distance, which was good for 41 percent.
Miami was led by guard Duncan Robinson, who came off the bench to score 18 points and hand out nine assists. Bam Adebayo scored 16 points while Jimmy Butler added 14 points.
Miami will have a third opportunity to close out the series on Saturday night at home in a 7:30 tip off (St. Louis time). The game will be televised on TNT. If the Celtics win, they will force a seventh and deciding game next Monday night back in Boston.
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