Jayson Tatum and the Boston Celtics were looking to have a fast start in Game 5 against the Miami Heat. Boston was determined to push the pace and attack the rim early on.
The Celtics' strategy, which they continued from Game 4, had early dividends, including this:
Jayson Tatum, after a quick screen from Al Horford, had an open lane to the basket. He didn't hesitate and turned on the jets to leave Kyle Lowry for a slam.
Boston's All-Star forward hang on to the rim and looked at referee Marc Davis, wondering why there was no foul. Tatum didn't get back to the next play and gestured something that Davis didn't like.
The action earned him a technical, which caused the TD Garden crowd to rain boos on Marc Davis. Some sections of the arena could be heard chanting:
"Ref you s**k"
Tatum's dunk was just two of his dozen points in the first quarter. His pace and aggressiveness set the tone for the Boston Celtics to follow.
Jaylen Brown, who has struggled with his shot throughout the series, took Tatum's cue and started attacking with intent. Brown finished the half with 15 points on 6-11 shooting, easily his best half in the conference finals.
Also read: Watch - Derrick White hits a buzzer beater on step-back 3 in NBA Eastern Conference Finals Game 5
Jayson Tatum and the Boston Celtics had a great start in Game 5
Jayson Tatum, after a masterful 33-point output in Game 4, had 12 points after 10 minutes in the first quarter. He was the biggest reason why the Boston Celtics raced out of the gates, building a 16-point lead at one point.
The Miami Heat defense only became more focused on the All-Star forward in the next quarter. Tatum took what Miami's scheme gave him and concentrated on setting up his teammates.
"JT" finished with four assists in the first half, but he could have had more had his teammates been more efficient. Tatum also had several "hockey" assists that helped the Boston Celtics put up points.
After 24 minutes in Game 5, the Celtics had taken a 61-44 lead. They were 11-25 (44.0%) from behind the arc and had more rebounds and assists.
Boston's pace continued to give the Miami Heat problems. The faster game allowed the Celtics to get better rhythm, something which Jimmy Butler specifically noted in the postgame conference.
Game 6 will on Saturday in South Florida. The Boston Celtics now have all the momentum in the series. They have proven to be clutch against the Heat on the road.
The Celtics reached the NBA Finals by beating Miami on their home floor last year. They also staved off elimination in Game 5 by drubbing the Heat at Kaseya Center.
Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo are confident that they can win the series on Saturday. They just have to play better, which starts with containing Jayson Tatum.
Also read: Watch- Jayson Tatum gets hit with a technical in NBA Eastern Conference finals Game 5