Erik Spoelstra: Heat ‘Paid the Price’ for Lack of Defensive Intensity in Game 5

Erik Spoelstra: Heat ‘Paid the Price’ for Lack of Defensive Intensity in Game 5

Miami Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra directs his players during the first half of an NBA conference final playoff basketball game against the Boston Celtics Friday, Sept. 25, 2020, in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

Mark J. Terrill/Associated Press

The Boston Celtics outscored the Miami Heat 70-50 in the second half of Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Finals en route to their 121-108 victory. Boston dropped 41 third-quarter points, with Jayson Tatum scoring 17 of his game-high 31 points to help that effort.

After the game, Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra discussed his team’s defensive performance.

“We did not compete hard enough defensively, and we paid the price for that,” Spoestra told reporters postgame, per Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun Sentinel.

Boston outscored Miami 17-6 on the fast break and out-rebounded the Heat 50-38. Jaylen Brown scored 28 points on 12-of-23 shooting (4-of-10 from three-point range), and Daniel Theis added a 15-point, 13-rebound effort.

Enes Kanter also saw some action and gave Boston some life by scoring eight points in just 10 minutes off the bench.

Miami’s defense wasn’t the only issue on this night. Of note, the team made just 7-of-36 three-pointers, with all players not named Duncan Robinson or Tyler Herro going 2-of-20 from beyond the arc.

Ultimately, a rough second half doomed the Heat, but not all is lost. Miami has largely been excellent in the playoffs thanks to an 11-3 record, and the team still holds a 3-2 Eastern Conference Finals series lead.

The Heat can clinch an NBA Finals berth with a win in Game 6 on Sunday at 7:30 p.m. ET against Boston. ESPN will be televising the game.

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