Heating Up: Celtics vs Heat Game 5 Reaction

Miami Heat Heating Up

This is not the result the Miami Heat wanted. They fought all season for homecourt and the opportunity to close there. But in a crucial Game 5, it didn’t matter against the Boston Celtics. The game was tightly played by both teams in the first half. Both offenses struggled to score in the first half. However, Boston turned it up late in the third quarter and blew the game away. Miami couldn’t get anything going offensively. With the loss, Miami now trails the series 3-2. Here are four takeaways from Wednesday’s Game 5 loss to Boston.

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No lift from Butler

Throughout the NBA playoffs, Jimmy Butler has often carried the scoring load for Miami. He showed explosiveness and was knocking down his jumpers. But things have changed since his Game 3 knee injury. Even though he’s played in both Games 4 and 5, Butler hasn’t looked the same. The Heat haven’t been able to get much from its star player. After going 3-14 from the field in Game 4, Butler started the game 1-7 from the field. He was able to get into the paint on multiple occasions but was unable to finish. This simply wasn’t the same Butler we saw in the first two games of the series. He finished the night scoring 13 points on 4-18 shooting from the field.

Winning the Quarters

The Heat have won only two quarters in the series heading into Game 5. In the first two quarters, Miami took advantage and won them. They led 19-17 at the end of the first quarter and 42-37 at halftime. But with a 10-0 run to close to the third period, the Celtics took a 69-58 lead into the fourth. The Celtics’ 11-point lead was the first double-digit lead in the game. Boston took off from there, growing their run to 24-2. Miami’s offense went cold with players unable to make anything. It looked as bad as the 18-1 start to the Game 4 loss in Boston.

Struggling Backcourt

Like Game 4, the Heat got absolutely nothing from its starting backcourt. Both Kyle Lowry and Max Strus continued to struggle from the field. The hard part is that the shots they took were good looks. With Boston playing drop coverage, the midrange area and three-point shots were open. Unfortunately, the Heat guards were unable to make them pay. Lowry clearly hasn’t been the same since his hamstring injury. Lowry’s backup, Gabe Vincent, had a better performance. When Vincent was in, that was the only time the Heat got production from the backcourt. And Strus only scored his points from the free throw line. Both Strus and Lowry combined for four points on 0-15 shooting from the field.

Season on the Line

Now, the Heat’s season is in jeopardy. They’re one loss away from being out of the playoffs. The odds are currently stacked against them with Boston being at home. Miami has been resilient all season and able to clinch the first seed. However, this is a tougher task. The Heat’s star players have not been able to put their imprint on the game for the past two games. Both Bam Adebayo and Butler have been too passive at times. Miami is also missing their leading bench scorer in Tyler Herro, whose status for Game 6 is unknown. Can the Heat force a Game 7? We’re about to find out soon.

Next up: Game 6 on Friday. The game tips off at 8:30 pm eastern time.

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