NEW YORK – The Boston Celtics have belief, as they poured in 16 three-pointers in a dominant 110-97 victory over the Miami Heat on Thursday that kept them alive in the National Basketball Association (NBA) championship chase.
For the second straight game, the Celtics fended off elimination, cutting the deficit in the best-of-seven Eastern Conference Finals to 3-2 with their triumph in Boston.
Miami will get another chance to close it out when they host Game 6 on Saturday. The Celtics will be trying to take one more step towards becoming the first NBA team to rally from a 3-0 deficit to win a best-of-seven play-off series.
“The only thing that can stop us is us,” Celtics forward Jaylen Brown said in an on-court interview.
His coach Joe Mazzulla felt the same, adding that the team have to stay united if they want to advance to the NBA Finals.
“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,” he said of the win.
Before a rapturous, raucous crowd at TD Garden, the Celtics looked every inch the favourites they were before the series started – before the upstart eighth-seeded Heat grabbed the first two games in Boston, then embarrassed the second seeds in Game 3.
Four Celtics starters scored more than 20 points, with Derrick White leading the way with 24 on a night when he made six of eight attempts from three-point range.
“Got some good looks and was able to knock them down, and just kind of rolled with it,” said the guard, who added that the Heat’s defensive focus on Brown and fellow star wing Jayson Tatum gave him more room to operate.
Marcus Smart added 23 and had five steals while Brown and Tatum scored 21 apiece.
More importantly, the energetic Celtics harried the Heat into 16 turnovers that led to 27 Boston points.
They had 17 second-chance points compared to Miami’s seven.
“Tonight we were the tougher playing team,” Brown said. &ldqu...