Celtics Star Jayson Tatum Sounds Off on Heat After Game 5 Blowout

Jayson Tatum

Getty Jayson Tatum #0 of the Boston Celtics looks to pass against Duncan Robinson #55 of the Miami Heat during the second quarter in Game Four of the 2022 NBA Playoffs Eastern Conference Finals at TD Garden on May 23, 2022.

The Miami Heat‘s devastating Game 4 loss to the Celtics during the Eastern Conference Finals seemed like it would be their lowest point in the series, but following their embarrassing 93-80 defeat in Game 5, which took place at home in the FTX Arena, it’s tough to imagine the franchise turning things around.

The Heat (2-3) scored a combined 162 points over the past two games, and with Jimmy Butler looking nothing like the unstoppable two-way star seen during the Hawks and Sixers series, and point guard Kyle Lowry “playing terrible,” as he himself described postgame, it seems the Celtics have already punched their ticket to the Finals.

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It wasn’t just Lowry (0 points) and Butler (13 points) struggling offensively in Game 5, the Heat missed 38 three-pointers, which is wild considering Miami led the league in threes during the regular season.

While Boston enters Game 6 as 8.5-point favorites, Celtics forward Jayson Tatum, 24, isn’t sleeping on the Heat whatsoever.

“Don’t look past them,” Tatum said of the Celtics’ mindset heading into Game 6. “Don’t believe what you guys [the media] say on TV that we won a championship. This is far from over. We just went into Milwaukee and won a very big Game 6, so know that it’s possible.”

“We came with the mindset that night that it’s a must-win game; we need to carry that over and go into Friday like we’re down 3-2,” the 2021-22 All NBA First Team selection continued. “This is a great team, well-coached. They’re not going to give up, it’s not going to be easy. I’m looking forward to it. It’s going to be a challenge, but it’s going to be fun.”

Erik Spoelstra Offers No Excuses for Game 5, Preparing for a ‘Breakthrough’ in Game 6

Heat’s head coach Erik Spoelstra has not thrown in the towel on his team turning things around in Game 6. “Look, we’re not going to make any kind of deflection or any kind of excuse,” Spoelstra said during his postgame conference on Wednesday night.

“Boston beat us tonight. And let’s be clear about that. There’s guys that are far from 100% on both sides, and that’s why this is just intense competition. It’s playoff basketball.”

As for the seemingly insurmountable issues the Heat must overcome to win the next two games, Coach Spo said the key is to embrace the hard fight.

“You’ve got to enjoy this. You do,” Spoelstra continued. “If you want to break through and punch a ticket to the Finals, you’re going to have to do some ridiculously tough stuff. Getting on to Boston and figuring that out collectively, those are the emotions and the breakthroughs that you have that you remember the rest of your life. Bring this thing back [for a Game 7] on [May] 29th.”

The Heat Enter Game 6 on the Brink of Elimination

Following their Game 5 defeat, the Heat will travel back to Boston in a must-win game to stay alive in the postseason. “We’re still alive,” Spoelstra said on Wednesday night. “We have an opportunity to play in front of a great crowd and an opportunity to make a memory that you’ll remember for a long time. That’s all we’re thinking about right now.”

Butler agrees with Coach Spo. “We have to go into a hostile environment and it will be amped up, but I like what our team can do,” the six-time All-Star said. “I like the opportunity that we have, and we’ve got to go in there and fight. It’s going to have to start in this next game up in Boston. But I just think that we know that we can win.”

Here’s the remaining schedule for the Heat/Celtics Eastern Conference Finals:

Game 6: Friday, May 27, TD Garden, 8:30 p.m., ESPN
Game 7: (if needed ) Sunday, May 29: FTX Arena, 8:30 p.m., ESPN

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