University basketball broadcaster and reporter
The Celtics are still alive.
Trailing by six points at halftime, Boston outscored the Miami Heat 38-23 in the third quarter en route to a 116-99 victory to force a Game 5 in Boston on Thursday in the Eastern Conference finals. cutting the Heat’s series lead to 3-. 1.
The turning point came in the third quarter, with the Heat leading 61-52 with less than 10 minutes remaining.
Boston went on an 18-0 run behind Jayson Tatum, who sparked the surge with back-to-back 3s before Derrick White tied the game with a 3-pointer.
While the Heat were within four minutes with two minutes left in the third quarter, Tatum knocked down back-to-back shots to help Boston lead 88-79 after three quarters.
Just as the Heat began to find momentum, cutting Boston’s lead to five, the Celtics rattled off 12 unanswered points to find the separation they needed to close out their first win of the series.
Tatum was brilliant, with 34 points (26 in the second half), 11 rebounds and seven assists.
The loss was just the fourth for the Heat this postseason as Miami fell to 11-4 in the playoffs.
Statistics to know: The Celtics had their best performance of the series away from downtown, hitting 19 3-pointers (19-for-46).
Next for the Celtics: Boston has some momentum and has passed the most difficult step of finding a win. The Celtics can now take this series back to TD Garden, where they’ll have a home crowd behind them on Thursday night. The key to forcing a Game 6: Riding on Tatum’s lead and continuing to win the turnover battle. Boston forced 15 Miami turnovers and committed just 10 in Game 5.
Next for the heat: Miami would rather not let this get any more interesting, but the key for the Heat is to limit sloppy mistakes and get back to the defensive roots that led to a 3-0 lead. Another key? Get Kyle Lowry going. He was quiet Tuesday night with just five points on 2-for-8 shooting from the field.
John Fanta is a national college basketball broadcaster and writer for FOX Sports. He covers sports in a variety of capacities, from calling games on FS1 to serving as lead host on the BIG EAST Digital Network to providing commentary on The Field of 68 Media Network. Follow him on Twitter @John_Fanta.
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