For most of Game 5 on Friday night, it looked like the Miami Heat were preparing to punch their ticket to the NBA Finals. Minus a brief moment in the very early going where the Boston Celtics tied it up, the Heat led for the entire first half, sometimes by as many as 12 points. They weren’t putting Boston in the rear view by any means, of course, but they seemed to be firmly in control of what was happening.
And then the second half started and the wheels just completely fell off.
At halftime, Miami led 58-51. With 7:50 left in the third quarter, Boston took their first lead of the game, 62-60, on a layup by Jaylen Brown. Miami would never lead again. By the end of the third quarter, the Celtics had outscored the Heat by 16 points in the preceding 12 minutes. That gave them a nine point lead heading to the fourth, and Boston just kept building on it to eventually lead by as many as 19 points before wrapping things up with a 13 point win at the final horn.
And so, it’s a 3-2 series now, advantage Miami. Not really the kind of way you want things to go when you have a chance to close out a series, especially so when the series in question is the Eastern Conference Finals. Still, at 3-2, that means the Heat get two more cracks to get this right, and they need just one more win to send OUR GUYS~! Jimmy Butler and Jae Crowder on to their first ever NBA Finals.
Butler had 17 points, eight rebounds, and eight assists in this one for Miami, which is a pretty good night if we’re being honest. Crowder had a nice night, too, finishing with 14 points, six rebounds, and three assists. One down note for our favorite current Heat players: Jimmy and Jae were a combined 0-for-8 from long range, including six misses from the man we once dubbed “Straight Away Jae” for his ability to knock down the top of the arc triple. It’s not just Butler and Crowder that had problems in this game as Miami shot just 19% from behind the arc.
Up Next: Well, clear the deck for Sunday night. Game 6 is coming up on ESPN with a 6:30pm start. Will we start a new work week with two Marquette guys in the NBA Finals?