The Boston Celtics won 110-97 over the Miami Heat in Game 5 of the 2023 Eastern Conference Finals, and the Celtics’ +51 margin in points from starters was their third largest in the playoffs since starts were tracked in 1970-71.
This is also the first time Boston has won four games when facing elimination in a single postseason. The last time the Celtics won at least four straight games up against elimination was when they won five straight in 1981-82.
According to a few NBA betting sites, the Celtics now have second-shortest odds to win the championship. Sportsbooks are still showing the Denver Nuggets as the odds-on favorite.
The Celtics’ +51 margin in points from starters was their 3rd-largest in the playoffs since starts were tracked (1970-71). pic.twitter.com/SvhvwJLD69
— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) May 26, 2023
Derrick White led the Celtics in scoring in Game 5 with 24 points. “We’ve got to do whatever it takes to get a win,” White said. The sixth-year guard shot 8-of-11 (72.7%) from the floor and 6-of-8 (75%) beyond the arc.
Marcus Smart ended his outing with 23 points, three rebounds, two assists, and a team-high five steals in 30 minutes of action. Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown recorded 21 points apiece as well.
Celtics had four 20-point scorers in Game 5 while Heat had none, fifth time in NBA playoffs history a team had four 20-point scorers and opponent held to zero in a playoff game
Boston outscored Miami 35-20 in the opening quarter. The Celtics’ first turnover of the game didn’t occur until the 8:16 mark of the second quarter. Boston finished its first half with a 61-44 lead. Of course, the C’s had four 20-point scorers for the first time this season.
Not one Heat player scored 20 or more points. This is the fifth time in NBA playoffs history a team had four 20-point scorers and the opponent had zero in a playoff game. It is the first time since 2013. The Celtics held Jimmy Butler to just 14 points, and it was his lowest-scoring game this postseason.
In the first half of Game 5:
Celtics starters: 58 points
Heat starters: 19 points
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) May 26, 2023
Additionally, the Celtics are aiming to become the first NBA team to overcome a 3-0 deficit in a seven-game series in league history.
“It just says that our backs are against the wall and we’re sticking together and we’re competing at a high level to give ourselves a chance,” Celtics coach Joe Mazzulla said.
Mazzulla is the third rookie head coach in NBA history to win four or more games when facing elimination, joining Paul Westphal in 1993 and Joe Mullaney in 1970.
It has been quite an emotional roller-coaster ride for Celtics fans. Game 6 is Saturday (8:30 p.m. ET) at Kaseya Center.