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NBA playoffs: Celtics starters tell some history in Game 5 win over Heat

The Boston Celtics are yet to finish.

The Celtics – once trailing 3-0 in the Eastern Conference Finals – are now 3-2 down, having led all the way and outscored the Miami Heat 110-97 on Thursday night.

Boston had four players, all starters, with at least 21 points — Derrick White led the way with 24, Marcus Smart added 23, while Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown had 21 each. It was the eighth time this season, and the first time this postseason, that a team had four starters scoring at least 21.

It was the first time Boston had four starters score that many in a playoff game since June 11, 1987. The Celtics actually had all five starters make it in that game against the Los Angeles Lakers; Dennis Johnson scored 25 points, Larry Bird had 23, Kevin McHale had 22 and Danny Ainge and Robert Parish scored 21 apiece in the Celtics’ 123-108 win.

That drew Boston to 3-2 in this series, as did the Celtics’ win over Miami on Thursday night. The Lakers won Game 6 of that 1987 game to win the NBA title.


Miami will host Game 6 of the Eastern Finals on Saturday. If Game 7 is needed, it would be Monday in Boston.


— The Eastern Conference Finals are on TNT.

— All games must start at 8:30 p.m. Eastern Time.

— Team Broadcasters will no longer broadcast matches. Everything after the first round is exclusive to national windows and not available for local telecasts.

— The NBA Finals will be broadcast on ABC.


Victor Wembanyama’s season in France is not over yet.

The presumed No. 1 pick in next month’s NBA draft had 19 points and nine rebounds, and Boulogne-Levallois outscored Cholet 81-69 in the deciding third game of their French quarterfinal series.

Wembanyama’s side will now face ASVEL in the best-of-five semi-finals starting on Sunday. The connections between these parts are deep; Wembanyama played for ASVEL last season, and the owner and president of ASVEL is Tony Parker – who played for San Antonio, the team that will use the No. 1 draft pick on Wembanyama next month.


– With 21 points in Game 5, Boston’s Jayson Tatum now has 498 points so far in these playoffs. He is two points away from becoming the 15th player in NBA history to score at least 500 points in two different playoff series; Tatum scored 615 goals last season. LeBron James has the most such playoffs, with nine.

–Boston starters beat Miami starters 95-44 in Game 5 on Thursday.

– The Celtics outscored Miami by 21 points from 3-point range, 48-27. Teams are now 16-1 in this year’s playoffs when they hold such an advantage; the exception came in the Lakers-Golden State series, when the Warriors edged Los Angeles by 45 points — 63-18 — on May 2 and lost anyway, 117-112.


When Jimmy Butler scores at least 23% of Miami’s points in a game, the Heat are 11-1 in this postseason, including the play-in tournament. When he doesn’t, the Heat are 1-5 (including the Qualifying Tournament and one game Butler didn’t play).

He had 14 of Miami’s 97 points in Game 5 against Boston, obviously well below that 23% mark.


“Those next two games should be fun.” – Boston’s Jaylen Brown, after the Celtics forced a Game 6 with a win over Miami on Thursday night.


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