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Playoffs 2020

NBA Playoffs 2020: Boston Celtics keep season alive with gutsy second half in Game 5 against Miami Heat

The Boston Celtics aren't done yet. In a must-win Game 5, the Celtics dug deep in the second half to come back and earn a decisive 121-108 victory over the Miami Heat.

For more on this thrilling, two-sided contest, we have you covered with some takeaways.

Celtics third quarter run

For a team playing with their season on the line, Boston certainly didn't come out that way in the first half. They were able to keep the game within reach trailing by seven points at the half, but they looked sluggish on both ends of the floor, getting out-hustled by the fiesty Heat.

To start the second half, it was a completely different Celtics team. One that looked like they had a sense of urgency.

Boston would go on a 20-3 run to flip the game on its head in the third quarter, turning a seven-point deficit into an eight-point lead. They'd keep that going throughout the frame, beating Miami to every 50-50 ball, owning the glass and locking up on the defensive end.

Boston would win the quarter 41-25 to take a nine-point lead heading into the final period. They shot 54.2% from the field, out-rebounded the Heat by 11 and forced four turnovers. Jayson Tatum erupted for 17 points in the third quarter alone to lead his team.

Second half Tatum

That brings us to... second half Tatum.

The All-Star forward failed to score a single point in the first half of Game 4, but exploded for 28 points in the second half to give his team a fighting chance in the loss.

In Game 5, he wasn't as silent in the first half scoring 10 points, but only shot 3-for-9 from the field and 1-for-3 from 3. With the Celtics trailing by seven at the half, needing more from their superstar, we saw another monster second half from Tatum.

He had 17 points in the third quarter, shooting 4-for-6 from the field and 2-for-3 from 3. He wasn't settling for jumpers, instead attacking the basket with an attitude, forcing the Heat's defence to foul. He went to the line eight times in the third frame alone, keeping the pressure on Miami's D.

He wouldn't let off the gas in the fourth quarter, finishing the contest with 31 points, 10 rebounds and six assists to help lead Boston to victory. If Tatum can keep this up, the Celtics just might have a shot at pulling off this 3-1 comeback.

Don't forget about Brown

As great as Tatum was, you can't forget about the Celtics other star Jaylen Brown.

Just as vital in the team's come-from-behind win, Brown helped put the exclamation point on the game in the fourth quarter. With Miami still lurking around, trying to pull off another double-digit comeback, Brown made sure he put those hopes to rest with a pair of back-breaking 3-pointers.

He'd close the game out with 12 points in the fourth quarter shooting 5-for-7 from the field and 2-for-4 from beyond the arc, sealing the win for Boston.

JB would finish the game with 28 points, eight rebounds, two assists and one steal, shooting 12-for-23 (52.2%) from the field and 4-for-10 (40.0%) from long range. Another ridiculous performance from the Celtics' two franchise cornerstones.

Dragic keeps the Heat's heart beating

Amidst the Celtics game-altering run, things would have gotten much more out of hand if not for Goran Dragic.

The former All-Star guard, who was terrific in the first two games of this series, finally broke out again in Game 5. Although he couldn't single-handedly keep up with Boston's third quarter run, Dragic scored 13 points in the frame to give his team a fighting chance.

He'd keep that hot hand going into the fourth quarter with another quick five points to start the period, but shortly thereafter he'd pick up his sixth foul that disqualified him from the game.

Dragic finished the contest with 23 points, four rebounds and four assists but shot 1-for-7 from beyond the arc. Nonetheless, he has some solid momentum to build off of for the rest of the series.

Tale of two halves for Butler

It was a tale of two halves for both teams, but Jimmy Butler in particular looked like two different players in this contest.

The Heat's All-Star had looked like he brought his A-game in the first half with his team one game away from the NBA Finals. He kept the wheels turning on both ends of the floor the entire first half, tallying 14 points, eight rebounds, five assists, one steal and one block shooting an efficient 4-for-6 from the field. Every time the Celtics tried to cut into Miami's early lead, it seemed like Butler was the one to come up with a clutch play to halt their run.

In the second half, that wasn't the case.

Butler would only score three points in the second half, shooting 1-for-5 from the field, 0-for-1 from 3 and 1-for-2 from the free throw line. His production on the glass and as a playmaker slowed down, too, only recording three assists with zero rebounds in the final two periods. For a team that was out-rebounded 28-12 in the second half, it doesn't help that their superstar wasn't crashing the glass with as much intensity once adversity hit.

Butler finished with a solid stat line of 17 points, eight rebounds and eight assists, but most of that coming in the first half could symbolize the type of game it was for the Heat.

Heat run on Duncan in the first quarter

With Boston failing to get out of the gate fast, Miami's forward Duncan Robinson assured his team would capitalize on that situation.

The undrafted sharpshooter scored 12 points in the first frame alone, shooting 2-for-4 from 3-point range to pace the Heat's offence. Unlike the player who typically stays on the perimeter and just shoots 3s, Robinson was getting to the rim as a cutter and also drew a foul on a 3-pointer to help add to his scoring total.

He'd score another five points in the second quarter but went quiet in the second half, finishing with 20 points shooting 3-for-11 from 3.

Slow start for Celtics stars

The Celtics have four high-quality scorers at their disposal, which is a huge reason they're usually so hard to beat. Typically when one or even two players don't have it going, there's still two other options that can usually buy a bucket to keep the team going.

In the first quarter (into the second quarter), that wasn't the case.

Adding Gordon Hayward (0-2 FG) to that group, it was 4-for-19 from the field for a combined 15 points for the four lead scoring options.

Tatum, Brown and Walker would eventually start to see shots fall later in the second quarter, but Hayward went into the halftime break with just two points as Boston found itself trailing by seven points.

What's next?

The Celtics and Heat will clash again for Game 6 on Monday as Boston tries to force a Game 7. Get your popcorn ready.

The views on this page do not necessarily represent the views of the NBA or its clubs.

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