Boston Celtics vs. Miami Heat Pick & Prediction MAY 27th 2023

Stadium: American Airlines Arena Miami
Logo Boston Celtics
Logo Miami Heat

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After losing the first three games of the Eastern Conference finals, the Boston Celtics didn't look like a team ready to flash some dominance.

But after winning the past two games by an average of 15 points, the Celtics are very much alive. They will seek to tie the best-of-seven series at three victories apiece with the Heat on Saturday when the teams play Game 6 in Miami.

No NBA team has overcome a 3-0 deficit to win a series but Boston is now halfway there after staving off elimination for the third and fourth times this postseason. The Celtics also recorded two such wins against the Philadelphia 76ers in the conference semifinals.

"Our back has been against the wall," Boston standout Jaylen Brown said after Thursday's 110-97 home win. "Obviously, we didn't imagine being in this position, being down 3-0, but when adversity hits, you get to see like what a team is really made of. I mean, it couldn't get no worse than being down 3-0, but we didn't look around, we didn't go in separate directions. We stayed together. We doubled down on what we're good at on defense, and now I think it's a series."

The Celtics never trailed and led by as many as 24 points in Thursday's game. Two nights earlier, they led by as many as 18 during a 116-99 road win.

The stellar play comes after Boston appeared ready to start the offseason after it was whipped 128-102 in Game 3.

"Game 3, that was as low as you can be," Celtics star Jayson Tatum said. "The good part about being that low is you only can play better. It's only up from there.

"It kind of gave us a sense of just like everybody is counting us out. We're supposed to win. We're supposed to be done, and I think we started to play a little bit more free and relaxed."

Suddenly, the pressure is on the Heat.

The thought of possibly playing a Game 7 in Boston in a winner-take-all affair isn't appealing.

And that makes Saturday's contest feel like a must-win for both teams.

Yet Miami star Jimmy Butler is downplaying his team's recent issues.

"We've just got to play better," Butler said. "... We are always going to stay positive, knowing that we can and we will win this series. We'll just have to close it out at home."

Butler scored a series-low 14 points and has failed to reach 20 in two of the past three games.

Heat coach Erik Spoelstra befuddled Joe Mazzulla over the first three games but it was the first-year Celtics coach pushing all the right buttons over the past two games.

"One game doesn't lead to the next game," Spoelstra said. "It just doesn't matter. It's about collectively preparing and putting together a great game. We'll play much better on Saturday. That's all we just have to focus on right now."

Mazzulla didn't have any profound explanation for the turnaround.

"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," Mazzulla said.

Heat center Bam Adebayo made it clear that his club's confidence remains high.

"When we started this journey, nobody believed in us," Adebayo said. "Everybody thought we were going to be out in the first round. Everybody thought we were going to be out in the second round. And now we are here one game away."

Boston had four 20-point scorers in Game 5. Derrick White made six 3-pointers and led the way with 24 points, Marcus Smart scored 23 and Tatum and Brown each scored 21.

Duncan Robinson led Miami with 18 points.

Heat guard Gabe Vincent (ankle) missed Game 5 and his status for Saturday hasn't yet been firmed up.

--Field Level Media

Boston Celtics
Miami Heat

Boston Celtics vs. Miami Heat Recap MAY 27TH 2023

Derrick White scored on a tip-in just before the buzzer sounded and the Boston Celtics forced a Game 7 with a solid 104-103 victory over the host Miami Heat in the Eastern Conference finals on Saturday night.

After Jimmy Butler made three free throws with 3.0 seconds left to give Miami the lead, Boston's Marcus Smart had his 3-point attempt go in and out. White moved into position and got the rebound and quickly banked the ball in for a dramatic victory for the Celtics.

Second-seeded Boston has won the past three games to become just the fourth team in NBA history to force a Game 7 after losing the first three games of a playoff series.

Game 7 is Monday night in Boston.

No. 8 seed Miami had taken the one-point lead with a 15-4 burst after trailing by 10 with under five minutes remaining. Butler scored 13 of the Heat's points during the rally.

Jayson Tatum registered 31 points, 12 rebounds and five assists and Jaylen Brown added 26 points and 10 rebounds for the Celtics. Smart scored 21 points, White had 11 and Robert Williams III added 10.

Butler was just 5-of-21 shooting while finishing with 24 points, 11 rebounds and eight assists. He had 15 points in the fourth quarter. Caleb Martin recorded 21 points and 15 rebounds for the Heat.

The Celtics are 5-0 in elimination games this postseason. They barely looked interested in continuing the series while being whipped 128-102 in Game 3 before staging the impressive recovery.

Miami's Gabe Vincent had 15 points, Duncan Robinson added 13, Bam Adebayo contributed 11 points and 13 rebounds and Max Strus had 10 points.

Smart split two free throws with 16.9 seconds remaining to give Boston a two-point lead. Butler was looking for the last shot and was fouled by Al Horford with three seconds left. The call was reviewed, and Butler was ruled to be behind the 3-point line and was granted three free throws and he made them all.

White drained a 3-pointer and Smart converted a three-point play to give Boston a 98-88 advantage with 4:56 remaining.

Boston's Malcolm Brogdon (right forearm strain) sat out the contest.

The Celtics shot 43.6 percent from the field and were a shaky 7 of 35 from 3-point range.

Miami shot just 35.5 percent, but made 14 of 30 shot attempts from behind the arc.

Tatum scored 16 of his 25 first-half points in the second quarter to help the Celtics hold a 57-53 halftime lead. Butler had just nine points in the half on 2-of-10 shooting, while Martin had team highs of 14 points and nine rebounds.

--Field Level Media