Denver will still have to wait to know their opponent in the final. Led by a quartet of players with more than 20 points, Derrick White (24 pts, 6/8 to 3 pts), Marcus Smart (23 pts, 4/6 to 3 pts), Jaylen Brown (21 pts) and Jayson Tatum (21 pts, 11 pds), without forgetting the 11 rebounds of Al Horford, the Celtics clearly dominated Miami (110-97) Thursday, at TD Garden, in Game 5 of the series which opposes the two teams in the semi-finals of the Eastern Conference. And this even if the Florida unranked reduced the gap at the very end of the meeting, during “garbage time”. After pocketing the first three games of the series, Erik Spoelstra’s players only lead 3-2 in a series completely revived by transfigured C’s. The latter scored 27 points on Miami’s 16 ball losses.

Aggressive at the start, the C’s were already raining the three points to make a first break (23-7). White planted one last at the buzzer at the end of the first quarter (35-20), for the road. Brown was warming up in turn (38-20), when it took 16 minutes to witness the first ball loss of a hungry Boston team. Over the minutes, Miami finally raised the tone in defense, and Duncan Robinson (18 pts) was good in scoring (49-38). But everything was complicated for the Floridians, crunched in the fight. Their zone was not very effective and the hands of Bam Adebayo and Kyle Lowry (holder following Gabe Vincent’s package) were leaking: seven ball losses between them at the break! After a downtime, the Heat took on a new shine, including triples from White and Smart (61-41). Unplayable ! Boston led 61-44 at halftime with four players at 10 points or more, Brown (15 pts), White (14 pts), Smart (13) and Tatum (12), and 44% from far.

Miami’s reaction early in the second half? Not really, we left with a fourth loss of ball from Lowry, the latter being dunked on the muzzle by Horford in stride… Quite a symbol. And again, Boston was harvesting cartridges in transition (65-46)… But White still had a hot hand and the ball losses continued to accumulate for the Heat (76-55), who still managed to keep pace offensively . But in this little game, the dynamic remained green (88-65). 18 Boston with 12 minutes left (90-72). Joe Mazzulla’s players increased their lead to 24 and coach Spoelstra was quick to recall Jimmy Butler (14 pts) and other executives on the bench. It was already time to prepare for Game 6, to switch heads, because the fate of this game 5 was quickly no longer in doubt in this last quarter. And this despite the closeness of the second knives. Nobody believed it (107-97, and 110-97 final score).

Game 6 of these Eastern Conference finals will be on the night of May 27 to 28, at the Kaseya Center in Miami (2:30 a.m. French time). In the event of match 7, the two teams would meet at TD Garden on the night of May 29 to 30 (2:30 a.m.). Meanwhile, the Nuggets of Nikola Jokic and Jamal Murray recharge the batteries. They will receive the future Eastern champion on the night of June 1 to 2 (2:30 a.m.) in the first match of the 2023 Finals.