Miami Hopes to ‘Make a Memory’ in Wednesday’s Game 6 Against Boston

The Miami Heat are on the brink of elimination after losing two straight games to the Boston Celtics in the Eastern Conference Finals.

Wednesday’s Game 5 was perhaps their best chance to head back to Boston with a 3-2 lead. The Heat was up by five coming out of the halftime break, but Boston outscored Miami 56-38, with their suffocating defense forcing the Heat to miss their first nine shots of the third quarter. The Celtics grabbed a lead they wouldn’t surrender with an 8-0 run, taking a 69-58 lead into the final frame.

From there, Boston blew the game wide open, creating a 23-point cushion in the fourth quarter. Jaylen Brown (25 points) took over in the fourth, knocking down a trio of three-pointers, slamming the door shut on any Miami comeback when he drove down the late and threw down this hammer in the half-court.

“As disappointing and as frustrating as this game can be,” Spoelstra said per Ira Winderman of The South Florida Sun-Sentinel, “We get on to Boston and just come together.”

Now, the Heat have one more night to keep their season going, and should they win Friday’s Game 6, they host a win-or-go-home Game 7 in FTX Arena.

Miami’s consecutive losses have been flustering, starting with an uncharacteristic blowout loss 102-82 Game 4 loss in Boston after getting outclassed in the first quarter 18-1. In Game 5, Boston’s decisive 24-2 run in the third quarter put any notion of Miami taking a 3-2 lead into Boston to bed.

Miami’s problems are punctuated by the sudden ineffectiveness of their veteran leaders, Jimmy Butler and Kyle Lowry.

Both have been a step slow in the ECF due to respective knee and hamstring injuries, especially Butler, who hasn’t played with his typical relentlessness. Lowry is 5-23 from the field in the conference finals, going 0-6 from the field and 0-5 from long-distance. Butler finished with 13 points, six rebounds, and four assists, but he’s only attempted six free throws in the past three games after shooting 26 in Games 1 and 2.

To top it off, Sixth Man of the Year winner Tyler Herro has missed the last two games due to a groin injury. Miami’s numerous injuries make it challenging to thrive against a physical defense that ranks No. 1 amongst the final four teams in the playoffs.

“We’re not making any excuses for any kind of health or anything like that,” Spoelstra said. “We’re just going to figure it out and get on up there to Boston and enjoy that competition.”

Now from this point on, it’s about surviving, taking it one game at a time

Lowry has held himself accountable, telling reporters that he has to play better while he’s out there.

The message is similar is from Butler. The six-time All-Star said that his bothersome knee is okay, but he needs to play better while on the court and help find ways to win. Bam Adebayo also said it’s time to adapt, not accepting the excuse that the Heat is injured when every team is dealing with the same bumps and bruises this late into the season.

“We’re still alive,” Spoelstra said. “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.

“And we have the kind of warriors that are going to tape up, brace up, do whatever we’ve got to do to get ready for the next one, and just embrace and enjoy that competition.”

Boston has a chance to close the ECF out on Friday when they host Miami for Game 6.

The post Miami Hopes to ‘Make a Memory’ in Wednesday’s Game 6 Against Boston appeared first on SLAM.

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