MIAMI — The Celtics overcame a sloppy and disastrous first half to blow out the Heat, 93-80, in Game 5 and move within one game of clinching their first berth in the NBA Finals since 2010.
Boston looked out of sorts in the first half. Jayson Tatum scored just four points; Jaylen Brown wasn’t much better with six points and four turnovers.
But the Celtics’ two superstars turned it on in the second and third quarters. Tatum added 18 more points, finishing with 22 and 9 assists. He shot 2 for 8 from three and 7-for-20 from the field.
Brown atoned for his mistakes in the early going by contributing 19 second-half points. He finished with 25 on 10-of-19 shooting from the field.
Robert Williams and Marcus Smart were both questionable before the game, but both started. Smart didn’t look himself at times, but played 24 minutes and added 5 points. Williams was a crucial playmaker in the paint. He record 10 rebounds to go with 3 blocks.
The Celtics outscored the Heat 32-16 in the third quarter, which catapulted them to a 69-58 lead entering the fourth.
At one point, the Celtics were up 23 — the fifth straight game in which one team held a 20-point lead.
Game 6 will be at TD Garden on Friday. Advance and Boston will play the winner of Golden State-Dallas. The Warriors have a 3-1 lead.
The NBA Finals is a seven-game series and will tip off on Wednesday, June 2.
What Jayson Tatum had to say after the game — 12:20 a.m.
On his shoulder, and how it felt:
“Yeah, it was bothering me. I got Nick, my trainer, he takes care of me. We just figure it out. Obviously, they’re a really good team. Both teams play hard, compete and things like that.”
On if it feels different than previous runs toward the Finals:
“Yeah, it does. My rookie year, being up 3-2, you know, obviously different team now. I’m a lot better, J.B. is. We’re just older. And we’ve been through those tough times.
“But, you know, the mindset and the talk that we had after the game was we was down 3-2 last time, had to go on the road and win a Game 6, and we did. We can’t think that it’s over with. We need to go back home like we’re down 3-2, with that sense of urgency that it’s a must-win game, not relaxing because we’re up.
“It’s possible. Obviously, we did it last series, so knowing that, talking about that, obviously enjoying this one, but not being satisfied knowing that we still got things to clean up, we still need to play better. The job’s just not finished yet.”
On how he and Brown feed off each other:
“My teammate for five years. Watched a lot of film together. Talk a lot throughout the game. I knew that he had it going. Kind of bringing the ball up, things like that, trying to find him, find the hot hand, for him to score, make the right play. That’s just something we’ve gotten so much better at over the course of these last five years.”
What Jaylen Brown had to say after the game — 12:10 a.m.
On the difference between the first and second halves:
“Just guys getting settled in, keep being aggressive, stop turning the ball over. We gave them a lot more shots than we had in the first half. We was only down by five. We knew if we took care of it, we would get some open opportunities and knock ‘em down.”
So just continue to play basketball, be aggressive. That’s why basketball is 48 minutes.
On what made him a different player after halftime:
“Same player, just had to get settled in. That’s it. As the game wears on, some of that energy, some of that intensity starts to wear off, so the game opens up a little bit. The game opened up for me in the second half. I didn’t want to get down. I didn’t want to look into the past, think that this game was over. My team needed me to come out and respond.
“First half was [expletive], threw it away. Come out, play basketball in the second half.”
On how the defense keeps the Celtics in the game:
“Our defense is key. Every night we come out and hang our hat on that side of the ball. It was great to have, even in a limited role, Marcus and Rob, to be able to be out there, because their presence on that side of the ball is felt. Rob does a great job of contesting shots, helps out everybody. Marcus, of course, being on the ball, doing what he does. Our defense is key.
“Every night we give ourselves a chance with our defense. We didn’t play great in the first half, but we only gave up 42 points. Kept us in the game. We were down five. Got settled in the second half and the game opened up, it was over from there.”
What’s the message as a chance at the Finals nears:
“This is a great opportunity. Leave everything on the floor. You don’t want any feelings of regret. We got an opportunity to do something with this group that’s special.
“So let’s not take that for granted. Let’s come out tomorrow on our home floor, or Friday on our home floor, and play the best version of basketball we played all season. This is a big game for us.”
What Derrick White and Al Horford contributed:
“Derrick the last two games has been fantastic. His contributions to our team have been great. He might not get all the credit, but the way he started Game 4, where he came out and we was able to jump on them early. How he came out today again was huge.
Derrick has been playing great these last two games. He’s been essential. We need him to keep playing with that same type of aggression. He was just fantastic tonight. Poise under control, made timely baskets.
“Al, you know, Al is old reliable. Al does what he’s been doing his whole career, stepping up in big moments, making timely shots, rebounding, being a defensive stopper for us, and also being that relief valve.”
What Al Horford had to say after the game — 12:00 a.m.
The key to turning it around for the win:
“For us, it was just to come out and continue to play the way that we’ve established. In the first half it was tough because, you know, we weren’t hitting shots, we were turning the ball over.
“The key for us was continuing to do what we do defending, then on offense just playing how we play. Eventually we were able to get it going.”
Why, at this point, the Celtics can shake off a bad half:
“It’s really experience for us. Just even in these playoffs, we’ve been put in different positions, different situations. Even in this series, I feel like we’ve grown as a group. It’s something that, you know, we’re better for. Each game we’re trying to learn and trying to be better.”
On what changed in the third quarter:
“Well, we stopped turning the ball over. That was a big thing. And, you know, we were able to — we continued to defend. But turnovers, I think that was the biggest thing.”
On the lift Rob Williams brings on the defensive end:
“Huge. Huge. Rob is obviously a very big part of what we do. I’m just impressed with him, with his poise, and just him being able to go out there and be put in different positions. He’s great. He’s great defensively. We’re very grateful that he’s able to play, and he’s giving us some minutes.”
What Ime Udoka said after the game about Jaylen Brown, Marcus Smart, and the defense — 11:45 p.m.
Did you think that, even if one of your guys got marginally hot, that it would be what you needed?
“Sometimes that’s all it takes, one guy to get back to his average game.
“Across the board, just too many turnovers, too many offensive rebounds, second-chance points, things that we’ve emphasized. With that being said, they had 47 points at the half. We felt we were in good shape if we cleaned up turnovers, limited them.
“Small things like that, it helps obviously to get some of our guys going offensively. What was important was that we cut down the turnovers, only five in the second half, only eight second-chance points. That’s where you get the result, 38-point half, hold them to 80 points.”
On what he said to Jaylen Brown after a few turnovers, and how Brown flipped the script:
“It’s the same thing, the crowd is there, you’re acting like you’re surprised that they’re reaching and poking him from behind. It wasn’t as much like live ball turnovers, trying to make a nice pass. It was literally getting taken from us.
“Be strong with the ball. Five games in now, we’re having too many of these type of turnovers, not being strong with the ball in the crowd. He understood that.”
What makes this team able to stay steady despite getting rattled?
“I would say our defense, we stayed steady there. We kept our composure tonight as opposed to some other games. We were playing our best game and kind of fell off a cliff in those two quarters. Tonight we kept our composure. We still relied on our defense, stayed solid there and knew if we got our offensive game going, taking care of the ball, getting shots up, we’d be in good shape.”
Why Marcus Smart stayed on the floor with four fouls:
“It’s trusting Marcus, that he knows how to play with those four fouls. Partially as Derrick (White) is right there in case, you have a really good obviously insurance policy. But at the same time we were playing really well that third quarter and didn’t want to break the momentum with that group.
“You trust your guys. He understands the situation, fouls, not getting his fifth. That communication is open. Tell him to be smart. We’d get him out later in the quarter when we can.”
Why is this team able to outlast opponents despite injuries and shaky play?
“I think the mental stress and strain we put on some teams with our defense has worked and carried us through the Playoffs at times. You saw in the Brooklyn series guys started to wear down. Game 7, Antetokounmpo slowed down some. But having all those bodies to continue to throw at people wears down on them physically and mentally, making it tough. As long as we don’t give them easy baskets in transition. With our guys, we’re always confident they’ll get it going and figure it out it eventually.”
The difference between Brown in the first and second half:
“He didn’t turn it over.”
On Derrick White’s aggressiveness:
“I think obviously starting last game with Marcus helped put him in a position to make more plays. He’s going to have a weaker defender on him, with J.B. and J.T. kind of being blanketed, he could take advantage of those. Capable scorer, driver, initiator. One of our best guys at quick decisions, getting downhill and making plays. We trust in him to do that.”
“I think last game kind of sparked it with the extra opportunity of Marcus being out. Great to have him back in that role coming with same aggression off the bench.”
Shaughnessy: It seems the Celtics finally wore down the Heat — 11:30 p.m.
It took five smashmouth games and a lot of time in the training room, but it feels like the Celtics finally wore down the top-seeded Miami Heat.
After staggering through a brutal first half (both teams), the Celtics came back from a 5-point intermission deficit, tightening the screws on defense and torching the Heat with a 56-38 second half en route to a 93-80 Game 5 victory in the Eastern Conference finals. Game 6 is Friday night on Causeway Street and the Celts are one victory from making it to the NBA Finals for the 22nd time in franchise history.
Why Grant started the third 😂 — 11:22 p.m.
Adam Himmelsbach’s observations — 11:15 p.m.
MIAMI — Even though the Celtics gave back home-court advantage in the conference finals by splitting a pair of games back in Boston, they were never really concerned. They were the NBA’s most dominant road team this season, and the trend has continued in the playoffs.
And after staying afloat during a mostly miserable first half for both teams Wednesday, Boston walloped Miami in the second and rolled to a 93-80 win that gave it a 3-2 series lead. The Celtics will have a chance to advance to the NBA Finals at TD Garden on Friday night.
Jayson Tatum had 22 points, 12 rebounds, and 9 assists for the Celtics and Jaylen Brown scored a game-high 25 points. Both players shook off sleepy starts and closed with power.
The Heat shot 31.9 percent from the field and made just 7 of 45 3-pointers (15.6 percent).
Miami held a 42-37 halftime lead, but given the extreme struggles of Boston’s stars, it felt like a missed opportunity. Sure enough, the Celtics started the third quarter with an 8-0 run and did not stop there, outscoring the Heat, 56-38, after the break.
This one’s over — 11:04 p.m.
The Heat fans are filing out — 10:59 p.m.
Gotta hand it to Nicole, who called this a half-hour ago.
Heat close within 13 — 10:55 p.m.
But there are just about three minutes on the clock.
Can the Celtics top their best? — 10:46 p.m.
Finn: Biggest margin of victory in this series in 25 points, the Celtics’ 127-102 win in Game 2. I’d bet they’re going to surpass it here. Miami is a gutty team, but they just look exhausted.
The “Let’s Go Celtics” chants crop up — 10:44 p.m.
With Boston up 21, the Green Teamers are making themselves heard.
Edging into ... wait, we’re in blowout territory — 10:42 p.m.
Finn: Would have been tough to believe at halftime when the margin was 5 and these two teams had just spent 24 minutes throwing rocks at each other, but this is the fifth straight game in this series in which one team or the other has a 20-point lead.
The Rob Williams impact — 10:37 p.m.
Finn: We haven’t talked about him here much, but Rob Williams has really impacted this game. Heat wants nothing to do with him in the paint. he makes Bam look small and Tucker slow. Corner 3s are in danger of being blocked when he’s around. Stat line — 6 points, 8 rebounds, 3 blocks — doesn’t do him justice. And he’s probably what, Nicole, 70 percent?
Thurston: Somewhere in New England, Bob Ryan is smiling and extolling the virtues of Robert Williams.
Yang: Might even be less than 70. But they know he’s that important.
End of third quarter: Celtics 69, Heat 58 — 10:31 p.m.
Thurston: The Heat are all out of sorts. Solid quarter for the Celtics. As Chad predicted, Tatum has picked it up.
Yang: This game is over.
Finn: Nicole with the DECLARATION.
Thurston: If this game is over, the series is over. Celtics will take care of business Friday night. This Heat team is really struggling.
Finn: Celtics end the third on a 10-0 run. Outscore the Heat 32-16 in the third. Miami looks gassed.
Where are Tatum and Brown? — 10:26 p.m.
Thurston: Tatum and Brown are a combined 6 for 23 with 2:45 left and the Celtics actually lead, 59-58. Unfathomable.
Finn: Hunch: Tatum is about to get it going, painful shoulder and all. That pull-up jumper he swished at 3:55 of this third quarter was quintessential Tatum. As much as he’s struggled, he’s on a triple-double pace (11-7-7). But they need his points.
Marcus Smart is giving his all, but having a tough time — 10:25 p.m.
Finn: Smart checks out with four fouls. He’s giving his all as usual, but he’s having a hard time navigating through the Heat’s screens. Gabe Vincent got a couple of good looks against him that probably never would have been opportunities if Smart had his usual mobility. Of course, he’s tops on the Celtics in plus/minus at plus-9.
Celtics can’t break away — 10:18 p.m.
The Heat have 16 second-chance points, and that last sequence in which they grabbed three (!) straight offensive rebounds illustrates why the Celtics can’t break away.
An Al Horford appreciation moment — 10:08 p.m.
Finn: Horford is the leading scorer in the game with 15 points. He’s sixth in shot attempts among the two teams. Get him the ball.
He has fewer shot attempts than Max Strus, who is 0 for 9 in this game and has missed his last 16.
The Celtics are in the bonus, and it might help — 10:08 p.m.
Yang: The Celtics will be in the bonus for the final 7:47 of the third quarter. Given how poorly they’re shooting from the field, getting to the line might be how they build a nice cushion.
That’s four fouls for Smart — 10:05 p.m.
Heat 46, Celtics 45
Yang: Marcus Smart just picked up his fourth personal foul with 8:45 remaining in the third quarter. He’s staying in the game.
Finn: Credit to Marcus for giving it a go tonight, but he just doesn’t look close to right. He couldn’t even get into position against Strus to take a charge.
Al Horford is the Celtics’ point guard, by the way. It’s true.
Celtics retake the lead — 9:59 p.m.
It’s 43-42 90 seconds into the second half. It’s the Celtics’ first lead since there was 3:29 left in the first.
The Celtics have not been a good third-quarter team. This is the ultimate test. — 9:57 p.m.
The Celtics need to assert themselves early in the quarter and not fall back into their third-period struggles.
If they do, it’ll be hard for them to rebound. And it’s even tougher to spin off two wins, the second being here at FTX Arena, to advance to the NBA Finals.
Yang: Grant Williams is starting the second half in place of Robert Williams. Given Rob’s effectiveness, especially in limiting Bam Adebayo, I imagine that decision is more injury-related than performance. Adebayo should try and be aggressive.
What we saw in the first half, and what we learned from it — 9:52 p.m.
Yang: The low first-half score, 42-37, is a reflection of just how bad the shot-making has been. Both teams are shooting below 40 percent from the field and below 30 percent from three. Yucky.
The Celtics are still in this one, so if they can manage to make some baskets and, maybe more importantly, take care of the basketball, they can still steal this one. The Heat should definitely be up by more — 9 offensive rebounds, 12 points off 10 Celtics turnovers — but they can’t make their shots either.
Finn: Tatum and Brown are combined 3 for 16 from the field. Tatum did a nice job passing -- five assists. Brown’s knees are bruised from all the times he has dribbled the ball off of them in the first half. Brown has 12 turnovers in his last 2.5 games — and that’s with just one in Game 4. I think they’ve missed a couple in this game, too. Official box score has him with 4. It’s more than that.
Thurston: The Heat just can’t take advantage of the Celtics’ ineffectiveness; this really should be a double-digit deficit at the half.
Stat check at the half: Heat 42, Celtics 37 — 9:41 p.m.
Derrick White: 11 points, 3 assists, 5-for-6 from the field
Al Horford: 10 points, 3-for-5 from the field
Jayson Tatum: 4 points, 5 assists, 4 rebounds, 1-for-5 from 3
Jaylen Brown: 6 points, 4 turnovers, 2-for-7 from the field
Bam Adebayo: 10 points, 5 rebounds, 5-for-8 from the field
Tatum injured? — 9:37 p.m.
Yang: After getting whistled for an offensive foul, Jayson Tatum came up holding his right shoulder, the same one that he injured in Game 3. Tatum wasn’t on the injury report, and Ime Udoka said it was just a stinger, but he clearly looks bothered by it.
Yang: Is there such a thing as a re-stinger? He’s re-stingered this thing a couple of times tonight.
Derrick White is 5 for 5. Every other Celtic is a combined 6 for 25. Just as expected.
Yang: He is staying in the game.
Tatum isn’t scoring, but he is creating opportunities — 9:35 p.m.
Finn: Tatum is making an effort to be a facilitator. Finds Jaylen for a 3, finds him for a missed 3, and sets up Horford, who draws a foul. Pretty good adjustment, but he’s going to have to make shots eventually here. Hopefully the shoulder is OK.
Scoring update: 5:30, second quarter — 9:31 p.m.
Miami 29, Boston 25
Derrick White leads all Celtics with nine points.
Jaylen Brown’s struggles continue (but will they pay off for someone?) — 9:28 p.m.
Yang: Apparently Vegas has a prop bet for Jaylen Brown turnovers over/under 5.5 He’s already up to five in the first half, so congrats to everybody who took the over.
Finn: It’s pretty impressive how the Heat defenders attack Brown’s dribble every time he puts it down more than once. Butler just picked his pocket a second ago, but everyone near him is whacking at the ball. We don’t have to guess what their scouting report says on him.
The Celtics finally scored — 9:21 p.m.
It took almost exactly four minutes into the second quarter for the Celtics to record their first points (a Jayson Tatum three).
Finn: I’ll say it again: Horford should touch the ball way more often than he does. He makes correct decisions, over and over. Just found Tatum for his first 3 of the game.
Scoring update: 8:30, second quarter — 9:20 p.m.
Heat 21, Celtics 17
The Celtics were lucky they were only down two — 9:18 p.m.
Yang: The Heat are shooting worse, connecting on just 9 of 24 (37.5 percent). The Celtics had 17 field goal attempts to Miami’s 24 and are only down 2.
Finn: Yeah, those five Miami offensive rebounds helped their cause. Jaylen has 4 of the Celtics’ 6 turnovers.
Not a bad idea — 9:16 p.m.
FIRST TO 50 WINS— Adam Himmelsbach (@AdamHimmelsbach) May 26, 2022
Four observations as the first quarter winds down — 9:11 p.m.
It’s Heat 19, Celtics 17 at the end of the first.
Yang: When Bam Adebayo is on the floor and Robert Williams is off, Adebayo should look to attack. He’s been far too passive in those minutes.
Thurston: Both of these teams look exhausted; tired legs and sloppiness on every possession.
Finn: Celtics shot 7 of 17 in the first quarter. Seemed worse than that.
Yang: The Heat are shooting worse, connecting on just 9 of 24 (37.5 percent). The Celtics had 17 field goal attempts to Miami’s 24 and are only down 2.
New Hampshire’s own is in the mix — 9:10 p.m.
Yang: Wow, early, meaningful minutes for Duncan Robinson. The Celtics will want to pick on him defensively, but the Heat would obviously welcome some three-point shooting if Robinson can get going. So would the fans, many of whom shouted, “Shoot it!” the second Robinson touched the ball.
Celebs in the house tonight — 9:08 p.m.
Yang: Quite the squad in the house at FTX Arena: Pro golfer Brooks Koepka, singer-songwriter Jimmy Buffett, and some guy named Alex Rodriguez.
No handle for Brown, which is not a surprise — 9:07 p.m.
Finn: Mark Jackson says on the ESPN broadcast that Jaylen Brown “uncharacteristically” loses the ball. Looks pretty characteristic to me.
Yang: It took 7 minutes and 26 seconds for Jaylen Brown to commit his first turnover via a dribbling mishap. Brown’s handle has been tough to watch this series.
Finn: Tatum and Brown are a combined 1 for 8. The only bucket was the Brown 3 after his consecutive dribbling blunders. Tatum has been short on a few of his misses.
Aaaaand the Heat have the lead — 9:03 p.m.
An Oladipo driving layup makes it 15-14 Heat with 2:37 to play. Ime Udoka has called a timeout.
Scoring update: 3:38, first quarter — 9:02 p.m.
Celtics 14, Heat 10
Rob Williams has four for Boston. Adebayo has four for Miami.
This crowd wants more Adebayo, but who can blame ‘em? — 8:59 p.m.
Yang: Boy, does FTX Arena really want Bam Adebayo to get going. Every time Adebayo has the ball, you can hear the crowd pipe up in anticipation. Adebayo had a breakout 31-point performance in Game 3 when Robert Williams was out, but has struggled otherwise. His contributions are critical, given Miami’s lingering injuries.
Finn: I’ll actually (reluctantly) give Heat fans credit for that, Nicole. It does feel like Bam is their best bet to stay in this game. Butler looks a little out of sorts still and Lowry has been terrible. Meanwhile, another excellent first quarter for Derrick White, who has 4 points and a nifty assist to Al Horford in 2 minutes 51 seconds of time.
Why Udoka turned to Derrick White so early — 8:57 p.m.
Yang: Marcus Smart picked up his second personal foul with 8:49 remaining in the first quarter, so Ime Udoka had to turn to Derrick White a little bit earlier than usual. That actually might not be the worst thing for Smart, who is still battling a right sprained ankle and midfoot sprain.
Scoring update: 7:23, first quarter — 8:54 p.m.
Celtics 5, Heat 2
A chill in the air when it comes to the Heat’s shooting — 8:53 p.m.
Yang: It’s looking like it could be another cold shooting night for the Heat, who have started the game shooting 0 of 6 from the field. Jimmy Butler had an easy bunny spiral out. As we’ve seen in games past, they’re going to want to get going before the deficit becomes insurmountable.
At FTX Arena, a moment of silence and a call for ‘common sense gun laws’ — 8:50 p.m.
By Nicole Yang
Before Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Finals tipped off Wednesday night, the Miami Heat took a moment to honor the victims of the recent school shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas.
The public address announcer at FTX Arena called the tragedy “senseless.” On Tuesday, an 18-year-old gunman killed at least 19 students and two teachers. The attack also left at least 17 people wounded.
“Our thoughts are with the victims, their families, their friends, and the entire Robb Elementary School and Uvalde community,” he said.
The announcer then asked for a moment of silence and encouraged attendees to call their state senators. A message that read, “Support common sense gun laws,” appeared on the center-court video board.
Heat coach Erik Spoelstra also took a moment before the game to share his thoughts.
“I can’t even imagine what that community and the families are feeling in that kind of scenario, going to school and seeing all the police cars and everything,” he said. “I think everybody is trying to figure out a way to be heard, to force some kind of change from the people that can make change. I just really feel for all the families.”
‘Let’s Go Heat’ chants ring out at FTX Arena, and it’s time for tipoff — 8:45 p.m.
A reminder on tonight’s starters:
Boston’s starters: Marcus Smart, Jaylen Brown, Jayson Tatum, Al Horford, Robert Williams
Miami’s starters: Kyle Lowry, Max Strus, Jimmy Butler, PJ Tucker, Bam Adebayo
Three pregame thoughts from Finn — 8:35 p.m.
1. Obviously great to see the Celtics’ starting five intact with Robert Williams and Marcus Smart both in the lineup. I take it as a sign the Celtics are aiming to end this series as soon as possible. If this were Game 1 or 2, I wonder either or both would be playing.
2. Expecting a big game from Al Horford, meaning he’ll have 18-20 points to go with his usual rebounding/defense/ballhandling contributions. Good things happen when Horford touches the ball on a possession, especially against that Heat zone.
3. Curious about Jayson Tatum’s 3-point shooting. He played a terrific Game 4, but he was just 1 of 7 from 3, and didn’t have his usual extension on his shot. He was also frequently stretching his arms and shoulders, as if the stinger he suffered late in Game 3 was affecting him.
Tonight’s starters — 8:20 p.m.
Boston’s starters: Marcus Smart, Jaylen Brown, Jayson Tatum, Al Horford, Robert Williams
Miami’s starters: Kyle Lowry, Max Strus, Jimmy Butler, PJ Tucker, Bam Adebayo
The Heat are sticking with their same starting lineup, while the Celtics will welcome back guard Marcus Smart. Coach Ime Udoka indicated before tip-off that both Smart and Williams may play fewer minutes than usual as they work their way back from injury.
The vibe inside FTX Arena — 8:10 p.m.
We’re about 35 minutes from tip, and the lower bowl isn’t full quite yet. Fans are heading to their seats to find tonight’s giveaway: “Let’s Go Heat” shirts.
There’s a big sign outside the arena telling fans to wear white, too.
Jayson Tatum made the All-NBA first team but believes the selection process needs refining — 7:30 p.m.
By Adam Himmelsbach
Celtics forward Jayson Tatum called being selected to the All-NBA first team a “huge honor” Wednesday, but he believes the guidelines for the selection process need to be refined, particularly with so much money at stake for some players.
Last season, Tatum was not picked for one of the three teams, costing him about $32 million in the five-year, $163 maximum-salary contract extension he signed with the Celtics.
“I mean, there just should be some rules in place,” Tatum said. “I don’t know exactly, but maybe you should have to play a certain amount of games or maybe you’re a playoff team or not. I do think it probably should be positionless.
“Joel Embiid was second in MVP voting and made the second team. That doesn’t really make too much sense, right? I think it should just be, like, the 15 best players. Obviously with some guys in a contract year, super-max deals involved, that’s tough. I’m sure that’s tough on the voters as well. So I think there’s a lot that could be changed in that area.”
What Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said about the Uvalde shooting — 7:15 p.m.
“Obviously, it was just tragic news yesterday. I left shootaround the other day, and it was before Game 1, I went straight to school to pick up my boys. My wife used to be a junior high teacher. We’re just devastated by the news.
“I can’t even imagine what that community and the families are feeling in that kind of scenario, going to school and seeing all the police cars and everything.
“I think there’s certainly -- after continued events, there’s a call to action. I think everybody is trying to figure out a way to be heard, to force some kind of change from the people that can make change. I just really feel for all the families.
A reporter posed a question to Spoelstra about his similar message after the Parkland shooting in February 2018, asking how difficult it is to compartmentalize.
“It is tough. It’s very tough. My wife and I had kind of a tough afternoon reflecting on it last night for those very reasons, and it does feel like just yesterday that we were going up there and spending time in that community, and just the shock that it was happening, so real in our neighborhood really, in our community. But it just continues to happen. I know everybody is saying that there needs to be a call to action, and I think what this is forcing people to do is just to figure it out, including myself. We don’t have the answers, but we want to be heard to be able to force change to the people that can actually make the change.”
Udoka’s pregame comments: What he said about Williams, Smart — 7:07 p.m.
How does Marcus Smart feel?
“Good enough. He tested it, and it feels better as the day went on. Did a little bit in shootaround and just some pregame now. He has enough movement where he’s not restricted in certain areas as he was a few days ago, and so it’s going to be some swelling and some pain, but he’s a guy that can play through some things, and we left it up to him as far as how confident he is with his feelings on the court, and he’s good to go.
“Not like we have to monitor anything, but we’ll take a look at him early, see how he’s feeling, and give us some feedback and go from there.
What does Udoka think Rob Williams brings?
“Consistency in both ends, a threat at the rim.” ... “Brings a different dimension to us defensively.”
Udoka said that despite playing fewer minutes in two of the four games of this series, Williams “has been very efficient.”
Udoka said Williams will have no restrictions.
‘I don’t have all the answers, but something does have to change’ — 7:00 p.m.
By Gary Washburn
While they prepared for their pivotal Game 5 against the Heat Wednesday, Celtics coach Ime Udoka and forward Jayson Tatum couldn’t help but offer their thoughts on the tragic school shooting in Uvalde, Texas, Tuesday.
An 18-year-old gunman shot and killed 19 elementary school students and two teachers in the rampage.
Udoka played and coached several years with the Spurs in San Antonio, which is less than two hours from Uvalde, and he’s familiar with the community.
“It’s a tough one, and being in San Antonio for all those years, Uvalde is very close,” Udoka said. “You see the [highway] signs all the time, it’s a 60- to 75-minute drive away. It’s a tragic situation for that community, for our country in general.”
Tyler Herro out for Heat — 6:48 p.m.
Tyler Herro will miss his second straight game for the Heat.
Herro missed Game 4 with a groin strain.
Smart, Williams available tonight — 6:47 p.m.
The Celtics announced Wednesday evening that both Marcus Smart and Robert Williams were available for Game 5.
The duo was initially listed as questionable on Tuesday, but were upgraded roughly two hours before tip-off.
Smart, who missed Game 4, is dealing with a right ankle sprain, while Williams is experiencing left knee soreness.
Why were the first four games of this Celtics-Heat series so noncompetitive? — 6:20 p.m.
By Chad Finn
Mike Breen hasn’t seen it all in his 30 years broadcasting NBA games, but he has seen enough that not much bewilders him.
But when the Celtics roared out to a 57-33 halftime lead in Game 4 of their Eastern Conference finals series with the Heat Monday — the fourth straight game in which a team seized at least a 20-point lead — Breen was as baffled as the rest of us.
“There will probably be a lot of people happy to hear me say this, but I’m at a loss for words,” said Breen with more than a hint of incredulity to analysts Mark Jackson and Jeff Van Gundy before the start of the third quarter of ESPN’s broadcast of Game 4. “What is going on in this series?”
Marcus Smart arrives, but with a slight limp — 6:00 p.m.
Smart had a wrap around his right leg, but the limp isn’t as noticeable.
Nicole Yang can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.Follow her on Twitter @nicolecyang. Chad Finn can be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @GlobeChadFinn. Katie McInerney can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter at @k8tmac. Scott Thurston can be reached at email@example.com.