Jaylen Brown scored 25 points, Jayson Tatum added 22 and the Boston Celtics moved to the brink of a berth in the NBA Finals, running away after halftime to beat the Miami Heat 93-80 and take a 3-2 lead in the Eastern Conference title series.
Al Horford added 16 points and Derrick White 14 for the Celtics on Wednesday night at FTX Arena in Florida while Tatum also had 12 rebounds and nine assists.
Bam Adebayo scored 18 points and grabbed 10 rebounds for the Heat with Gabe Vincent adding 15 points, Jimmy Butler 13 and Duncan Robinson 11.
Game 6 is in Boston on Friday night, where a pair of newly named trophies bearing the names of Celtics legends will be waiting. The Bob Cousy trophy goes to the East champs, the Larry Bird trophy to the East finals MVP, and the Celtics are one win away from being the first team to hoist them.
This series has seen massive momentum swings — a 44-14 Miami run in Game 1, a 60-21 Boston run in Game 2, a 46-20 Miami run to open Game 3 followed by a 57-33 Boston run in the same game, and a 26-4 spurt by the Celtics to open Game 4.
The Game 5 run was just as one-sided.
The score over a six and a half minute stretch of the second half was 24-2 in the Celtics’ favour. The turnaround was 59-58 Boston to 83-60 Boston, and that was that.
Boston outscored Miami 32-16 in the third quarter and opened the fourth with Brown capping the flurry by making three triples in a span of 150 seconds, and the lead was out to 23.
The Celtics haven’t reached the NBA Finals since 2010. There have been four East finals trips since then, with two losses to Miami and two to the Cleveland Cavaliers. There were also two chances — Game 6 in 2012 against the Heat and Game 7 in 2018 against the Cavaliers — when the Celtics had a chance to claim the conference title simply by winning a game on their home floor.
They lost both, LeBron James serving as the official thwarter both times, with 45 points to save Miami in the 2012 game and 35 to lift Cleveland in the 2018 clincher.
He won’t be in the Celtics’ way at TD Garden on Friday night.
Miami will need somebody to provide some semblance of an impersonation.