Celtics rally to beat Heat, stay alive in NBA playoffs

Miami Heat's Bam Adebayo (13) and Boston Celtics' Daniel Theis (27) battle for the ball during the second half of an NBA conference final playoff basketball gameon Sept. 25, 2020, in Lake Buena Vista, Florida. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)
Short Url
Updated 27 September 2020

Celtics rally to beat Heat, stay alive in NBA playoffs

  • The winners of the series take on either the Los Angeles Lakers or Denver Nuggets for the NBA title
  • The Lakers lead the Nuggets three games to one in the Western Conference finals

MIAMI: The Boston Celtics roared back in the second half to beat the Miami Heat 121-108 on Friday to stay alive in the NBA playoffs.
Jayson Tatum scored 31 points and pulled down 10 rebounds and Jaylen Brown added 28 points as six Celtics players scored in double figures and Boston cut the deficit in the best-of-seven Eastern Conference finals to three games to two.
Goran Dragic led the Heat with 23 points and Duncan Robinson added 20 for Miami, who are trying to reach the NBA finals for the first time since 2014.
With their season hanging in the balance, the Celtics exploded for 41 points in the third quarter to turn the tide in a game dominated early by Miami.
Under solid pressure from the Heat defense, the Celtics had made just one of their first 12 shots and connected on just five of 20 from the field in the first quarter.
Boston trailed by as many as 12 in the opening period, which ended with the Heat leading 26-18.
Miami again built the lead to 12 in the second period and finished the first half with a 58-51 lead.
But Boston were beginning to see some shots fall, and as they turned up the intensity on both ends of the floor after the interval Miami had no answer.
The Celtics opened the second half with a 20-5 scoring run.
Marcus Smart’s three-pointer tied it up at 60-60 and Boston took the lead for the first time in the contest, 62-60, on Brown’s layup off a feed from Kemba Walker.
They wouldn’t trail again.
Walker’s three-pointer with 4:26 left in the third gave Boston a 10-point lead and the Celtics took a nine-point edge into the final frame, when they continued to pour it on.
Tatum scored 17 in the third and the Celtics out-rebounded the Heat 16-5 in the quarter.
“We got back to playing Celtics basketball,” Walker said. “I felt like early in the game we were a little frustrated, bickering at each other at the refs. We got out of it, and just let the game come to us.”
The Celtics will try to build on their momentum against a Heat team determined to put them away in game six on Sunday.
The winners of the series take on either the Los Angeles Lakers or Denver Nuggets for the NBA title in the quarantine bubble in Orlando, Florida.
The Lakers lead the Nuggets three games to one in the Western Conference finals.
Boston’s German center Daniel Theis contributed a double-double of 15 points and 13 rebounds, Smart finished with 12 points and Gordon Hayward chipped in 10.
“Boston played great in that second half, they deserved and earned what they got,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said.
“We did not compete hard enough defensively and we paid the price for that. But you do have to credit Boston, they played with great force particularly off the dribble.”
Spoelstra noted that the Celtics scored just four points in the paint in the first quarter but added: “It was just a deluge to the rim after that.”
Boston scored 30 points in the paint in the second half and had 13 fastbreak points to Miami’s zero after the break.
“We didn’t defend as well as we could in the first half and that’s what got our offense going in the second half,” Tatum said. “We just locked in, we were all on the same page.”


Rays rally with walkoff stunner to level World Series against Dodgers

Updated 26 October 2020

Rays rally with walkoff stunner to level World Series against Dodgers

ARLINGTON, United States: Brett Phillips’s single scored two runs and the Tampa Bay Rays walked off with a stunning 8-7 victory over the Los Angeles Dodgers Saturday that knotted the World Series at two games apiece.
The Rays became the first team in post-season history to homer in four straight innings, but they trailed 7-6 heading into the bottom of the ninth.
With two out and two on, Phillips — who entered the game in the eighth as a pinch runner — was down to his last strike in the ninth when he singled to right center field off Dodgers closing pitcher Kenley Jansen and Kevin Kiermaier scored from second base.
Randy Arozarena racing from first, rounded third after the ball bounced off the glove of Dodgers outfielder Chris Taylor.
Arozarena tripped between third and home and looked done for, but Dodgers catcher Will Smith bobbled the throw to the plate and Arozarena was able to scramble forward and throw himself headfirst across the plate in time.
“Golly, what a special moment,” said Phillips, who last got a hit in the Rays’ 58th game of the regular season on September 25.
“I am having a hard time putting my emotions into words,” Phillips said. “Baseball is fun.”
Kiermaier called the ending — which sent the Rays into a frenzy of celebration on Globe Life Field in Arlington, Texas, “truly incredible.”
Arozarena notched a record-breaking ninth home run of the post-season. Kiermaier, Hunter Renfroe and Brandon Lowe also homered for the Rays, who are seeking the first World Series title in franchise history.
The Dodgers, back in the World Series for a third time in four years after disappointments in 2017 and 2018, are seeking their seventh title — but a first since 1988.
“This is certainly a tough one,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said. “They were the best team all year in the American League.
“They are not going to give anything away. We’ve got to regroup and get ready for tomorrow.”
The spectacular ending, capped a tense back-and-forth battle with a World Series record eight straight half-innings with a run scored.
Justin Turner and Corey Seager homered for the Dodgers. Seager’s was his eighth of the playoffs, temporarily tying the single post-season record until Arozarena notched his ninth in the fourth frame.
For the second game in a row Turner got things rolling with a solo homer in the first inning.
Seager added a solo shot in the top of the third that put the Dodgers up 2-0, but Arozarena pulled back a run in the bottom of the fourth with a lead-off blast to right centerfield off a 95 mph fastball from Julio Urias.
Los Angeles stretched the lead to 3-1 in the fifth when Seager singled off Rays relief pitcher Pete Fairbanks and reached second on a wild pitch. With two outs in the inning Max Muncy reached first on a sharp line drive to right field that scored Seager.
The Rays responded with a home run from Renfroe to cut the margin to one run in the bottom of the fifth.
The Dodgers pushed the lead back to two in the top of the sixth when Enrique Hernandez fired a double down the left field line that scored two.
But Lowe — the two-homer hero of the Rays’ game-two victory — put the Rays in front for the first time with a three-run blast off Dodgers reliever Pedro Baez in the bottom of the sixth.
In the seventh, Dodgers pinch-hitter Joc Pederson came up with the bases loaded and two out and delivered a two-run single that put Los Angeles back in front.
All seven Dodgers runs came with two outs — continuing a trend for them this series.
The Rays however, wouldn’t be denied, Kiermaier’s homer off Baez knotting the score at 6-6.
“We have no quit,” Kiermaier said. “We have been doing that all year. We’ve been the comeback kids. To do it on the big stage makes it that much sweeter.”