The Miami Heat allowed the Boston Celtics to battle back in the second half and get the win, 121-108. This game was clearly a tale of two halves, with Miami dominating the first and Boston dominating the second. Here are five takeaways from the game…
#1: Duncan Robinson comes out scoring early, not just from three, but in the paint.
Duncan Robinson hasn’t had the best series scoring the ball, but that changed early in game five. While many would expect he made most of his scoring impact from beyond the arc, it actually came from attacking the rim. I’ve continually said that since Duncan is being watched so closely, he will need to put the ball on the floor once in a while to open up his shooting. Well, that’s exactly what he did tonight. After scoring around the rim to start, that led to him hitting three first half triples. Duncan has been a bit of a decoy throughout this series, but now he proved once again that he’s much more than that. He will need to show up again in game 6 to give Miami’s offense a boost.
#2: Jimmy Butler fills up stat sheet in first half, but his biggest impact didn’t involve numbers.
Jimmy Butler’s energy on both sides of the floor in the first half was clearly impressive. He finally was searching to score at times in the first half, which led to some fouls on Boston’s top players. But his biggest impact wasn’t on the offensive end, and it wasn’t shown in a stat sheet. It was on display through his active hands on the defensive end through help defense. Miami’s first quarter lead began with Jimmy making guys uncomfortable when attacking the rim, and ultimately led to buckets on the opposite end. But Miami’s second half issues allowed Jimmy Butler’s offense to grow stagnant, which consequently made his intensity take a dip. Now only up 3-2, Jimmy will need to be ready to close this out on Sunday.
#3: Miami’s three point shooting struggles become problematic.
Miami shot 19% from three in game five, only Duncan Robinson seemed to be able to connect from deep. This is very unlike this team, since they’ve been a top three point shooting team all season. For starters, Jae Crowder struggled shooting the ball again from three, which showed a huge decrease in his confidence with his jumper going forward. Goran Dragic and Tyler Herro weren’t even able to get in a groove shooting the ball in the first half. Boston struggled early in the game as well, shooting 5 for 20 in the first quarter, but their second half run overcame this. Although it’s tough to think positively about this poor shooting, this team’s shooting confidence is like no other, which is why it’s not much of a worry.
#4: Third quarter issues cause 20-3 run by Celtics.
It was clear that Miami was the energetic and locked in team throughout the first half, but it was the complete opposite in the second half. Not only were the Heat flat in the third, they just weren’t getting into their offense. It also seemed as if they got complacent with their halftime lead. No fire in their play, until Goran Dragic took the reigns of the team while trailing once again. It ultimately was too late though, since Boston went on a 20-3 run to start the quarter. It’s been a constant thing with this team that they must play for a full 48 minutes. Tough stretches, like the one in the third, will need to be cleaned up going forward, since they can’t do that against a team like Boston, especially in the Conference Finals.
#5: Goran Dragic continually finds ways to try and get them out of the mud.
Goran Dragic seems to get to another level whenever they go through tough stretches, and well, it was on full display tonight again. Even on a night that he’s not shooting particularly well, he finds ways to attack the rim and draw fouls to try and get the team back on track. This is something he has done all season. Maybe it’s that he’s able to do whatever he wants with the ball in his hands during those times, which means he can put his head down and play his game. Either way, Goran can’t be the only guy trying to get them out of the mud. They will need another type of offensive game to take some of the load off of him, like Jimmy’s attacking or Tyler’s shot-creating.