National Basketball Association
Jayson Tatum goes superstar, helps Celtics stay alive against Heat
National Basketball Association

Jayson Tatum goes superstar, helps Celtics stay alive against Heat

Updated May. 23, 2023 11:03 p.m. ET

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 win 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 proceeded to go on an 18-0 run behind Jayson Tatum, who sparked the surge with back-to-back 3s before Derrick White evened the game with a triple. 


While the Heat were within four inside two minutes left in the third quarter, Tatum knocked down back-to-back shots and helped Boston to an 88-79 lead after three quarters. 

Just when the Heat started to find momentum, trimming the Boston lead down to five, the Celtics reeled off 12 unanswered points to find the separation they needed to close out their first win of the series. 

Tatum was brilliant, putting up 34 points (26 in the second half), 11 rebounds and seven assists. 

The loss was just the fourth for the Heat in this postseason, as Miami dropped to 11-4 in the playoffs. 

Stat to know: The Celtics had their best performance of the series by far from downtown, notching 19 made 3s (19-for-46). 

Play of the game:

Up next for the Celtics: Boston has some momentum and got through the most difficult step of just finding a win. The Celtics can now bring this series back to TD Garden, where they will have a raucous home crowd behind them Thursday night. The key to forcing a Game 6: ride Tatum’s lead and keep winning the turnover battle. Boston forced 15 Miami giveaways and committed only 10 in Game 5. 

Up next for the Heat: Miami would prefer not to 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 on Tuesday night with just five points on 2-of-8 shooting from the field. 

John Fanta is a national college basketball broadcaster and writer for FOX Sports. He covers the sport 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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