Jayson Tatum, Celtics Give Fans Hope of Series Comeback with Game 5 Win vs. Heat

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured Columnist IVMay 26, 2023

BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS - MAY 25: Jaylen Brown #7 of the Boston Celtics dunks the ball against the Miami Heat during the second quarter in game five of the Eastern Conference Finals at TD Garden on May 25, 2023 in Boston, Massachusetts. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

The Boston Celtics are halfway to becoming the first team in NBA history to overcome a 3-0 deficit in a playoff series.

Boston defeated the Miami Heat 110-97 in Thursday's Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Finals at TD Garden and now trails 3-2 in the series. Extending the series with a road win in Game 6 may be more difficult, but the Celtics got off to a fast start and left little doubt in Thursday's battle.

Jayson Tatum (21 points, 11 assists and eight rebounds) and Jaylen Brown (21 points and three steals) played well as the headliners, but they were joined by Marcus Smart (23 points, five steals and four three-pointers) and Derrick White (24 points and six three-pointers) in a complete performance for the victors.

The overall showing had social media buzzing about a potential historic comeback:

Bleacher Report @BleacherReport

TATUM THROWS IT DOWN ๐Ÿ˜ค<br><br>Celtics up BIG. <a href="https://t.co/I3q7JVqXqF">pic.twitter.com/I3q7JVqXqF</a>

Matt Zemek @MattZemek

A lot of people are thinking about Curt Schilling's bloody sock right now... <a href="https://t.co/hQEPt4w1B4">https://t.co/hQEPt4w1B4</a>

will bjarnar @bywillbjarnar

big fan of this jayson tatum. would like him to stick around for a while.

Robby Kalland @RKalland

a jaylen game and a jayson game happening simultaneously makes the celtics basically unstoppable

Richard Deitsch @richarddeitsch

I have no dog in the Celtics-Heat tussle.<br><br>But I cannot root for harder for a Game 7 given all the takes over the last week originating from this series. <br><br>It would the <a href="https://twitter.com/OldTakesExposed?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@OldTakesExposed</a> Olympics, with so many takes hanging in the balance.

alex @steven_lebron

halfway to living in a universe where the celtics came back from 3-0 but at least there will be a high stakes basketball game to watch on saturday <a href="https://t.co/j7DnLprjOz">pic.twitter.com/j7DnLprjOz</a>

๐™๐™ž๐™ก๐™š๐™ฎ โ˜˜๏ธ @CelticsRiley

Are the Celtics tricking me into having hope just to crush my heart again? <br><br>Probably.<br><br>Am I still going to fall for it? <br><br>Absolutely. <br><br>LETS GO CELTICS!! โ˜˜๏ธโ˜˜๏ธ

trace @tracedontmiss

Miami Heat with a 3-0 lead against the Celtics <a href="https://t.co/pghrhMH58r">pic.twitter.com/pghrhMH58r</a>

claire de lune @ClaireMPLS

๐Ÿ˜ฌ๐Ÿ˜ฌ๐Ÿ˜ฌ๐Ÿ˜ฌ๐Ÿ˜ฌ๐Ÿ˜ฌ <a href="https://t.co/wRtGdcbhOl">https://t.co/wRtGdcbhOl</a>

Sloan Piva @SloanPiva

If anyone can pull off 4 straight Ws after falling behind 3-0, it's the Celtics.<br><br>They had the NBA's best record following Ls this season, and they're 6-1 in elimination games dating back to the start of the '22 Playoffs.<br><br>I doubted them after Game 3. But they flipped the script.

AlexHoops @AlexHoops_

It's hard to watch the Celtics play like this and not convince yourself that they're capable of coming back from being down 3-0

Nate Jones @JonesOnTheNBA

Celtics being the first team to comeback from down 3-0 would be fitting of this team's up and down persona. Lots more to do

Tatum set the tone out of the gates as the Celtics quickly jumped out to a double-digit lead in the first quarter. He unleashed multiple monster dunks, whipped passes to open shooters in the corner and even picked up a technical foul as he dialed in as the home team's emotional leader.

Yet the dominance was far from a one-man show.

White and Smart caught fire from deep, and Brown assumed the scoring role in the second quarter. Brown hit multiple threes, created opportunities in transition and even looked to post up smaller defenders.

Frankly, there was very little Boston didn't do in the commanding victory. The defense swarmed Miami's ball-handlers while creating 16 turnovers, the ball continued to move in a balanced offensive attack and everyone fed off the emotion of the crowd. There wasn't a single moment when it realistically seemed like the Heat were going to win.

Now all the pressure is on Miami when it returns home for Saturday's Game 6.

If Boston plays like it did the past two games and extends its winning streak to three, it is difficult to imagine it losing on its home court in the decisive Game 7. That makes Saturday's game essentially a must-win for Jimmy Butler and Co.