JAYLEN Brown scored 25 points and Jayson Tatum added 22 points and 12 rebounds as the visiting Boston Celtics moved one victory away from the National Basketball Association (NBA) Finals by recovering from a lackluster first half to defeat the Miami Heat 93-80 on Wednesday.
Al Horford scored 16 points while Derrick White added 14 as the Celtics picked up the pace after scoring just 37 points over the opening two quarters and took a 3-2 lead in the Eastern Conference finals.
Boston now heads home for Game 6 of the best-of-seven series on Friday with a chance to earn a spot in the NBA Finals for the first time since 2010.
Bam Adebayo produced 18 points and 10 rebounds and Gabe Vincent added 15 points for the Heat, who lost at home for the second time in the series after going 6-0 in Miami during the opening two rounds of the playoffs. Miami star Jimmy Butler had 13 points on 4-of-18 shooting.
The Heat were not much better than the Celtics in the opening half, taking a 42-37 lead to the locker room. It was the first time a game in the series was within five points at the break. Four of the five games in the series have ended in double-digit victories.
Boston took charge in the third quarter, outscoring Miami 32-16. The Celtics opened their first double-digit lead on a Brown turnaround jumper with eight seconds remaining in the third for a 69-58 advantage.
The Celtics shot 46.5% for the game despite hitting just 38.2% in the first half. Tatum was just 1-for-9 from the field before half time, making his lone basket with 8:07 remaining in the second quarter. He finished the night 7-for-20.
Brown did his part by hitting consecutive 3-pointers with less than nine minutes remaining in the game for an 83-60 lead, capping a 24-2 run.
Butler struggled again for the Heat and is now 10-for-40 from the floor over the past three games. Miami played without NBA Sixth Man of the Year Tyler Herro (groin) for the second consecutive game.
Robert Williams III contributed six points and 10 rebounds for Boston. Duncan Robinson had 11 points for Miami, and P.J. Tucker added seven points and 11 rebounds. — Reuters