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The Boston Celtics maintained their shot at returning to the NBA finals after completing consecutive wins over the Miami Heat following a 110-97 victory at TD Gardens in game five to move within one win of leveling the series in the Eastern Conference finals.
The Celtics, who faced another must-win situation made their intentions known early after claiming the first two quarters; 35-20 and 26-24 for a 17-point lead heading into the break.
Despite a more competitive third quarter by Miami, the Celtics held firm to edge that period 29-28
Boston benefitted from an effective rotation system as four players posted over 20 points on the night. Derrick White led the way with 23 points, followed by Marcus Smart who posted 23 buckets of his own.
Jayson Tatum and Jalen Brown supported with 21 points each as the home team set a strong precedent approaching the final quarter.
Despite Boston relinquishing the fourth quarter;20-25, the damage was already done as the final buzzer confirmed a second win and an extended stay in the finals as they force a sixth game after coming from 3-0 down.
No team in NBA history has come from that margin to win a series. However, Celtics who battled through seven games to advance to the conference finals, will have no choice but to make history if they‘re to contest this season’s championships.
Game six will tip off on Saturday at the FTX Arena with the same perimeters; win or go home for Boston, while it’s winning and advance for Miami who lead the series 3-2.