2012 NBA Playoffs: Boston Celtics Leave Miami with Huge Game 5 Victory

Karthik TadisinaSenior Writer IJune 6, 2012

Kevin Garnett.
Kevin Garnett.Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

How important is momentum in the NBA playoffs?

Just ask the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Boston Celtics.

The Boston Celtics became the second team in two nights to hang on for their third straight win (94-90) Tuesday evening against the Miami Heat to take a 3-2 series lead, with Game 6 in Boston on Thursday night.

In a game that was tightly contested late in the fourth quarter, a big three-point shot by Paul Pierce put the Celtics up by four with just under a minute left to play, essentially icing the game.

The Celtics had momentum on their side after being able to win Game 3 and Game 4 on their home floor. Furthermore, the play of Rajon Rondo and Kevin Garnett once again proved to be important, as it exposed the Heat’s thin frontcourt (Chris Bosh played in Game 5, but in limited minutes).

Garnett scored 26 points while pulling down 11 rebounds and hit two key free throws in the final seconds to keep the Celtics lead at four, ultimately forcing the Heat to hoist jumpers to cut the lead with less than 11 seconds left in the game.

Timely baskets by Paul Pierce, Mickael Pietrus and Keyon Dooling, along with huge free throws by Ray Allen, all came together with the game on the line.

The Heat were led by Dwyane Wade (27 points) and LeBron James (30 points), while Miami's role players struggled shooting from the field, allowing the Celtics to crowd the painted area.

It will be interesting to see how each team comes out to start Game 6, as there is still a lot of basketball left to play in this particular series.