Just a reminder: The Miami Heat scored just one point over the final six minutes of the third quarter
Shane Battier drilled a three-pointer in front of the Boston Celtics bench, and Udonis Haslem followed with a hook shot on the ensuing possession to give the Miami Heat a 59-50 lead with six minutes left in the third quarter. Kevin Garnett, Boston’s plus-minus savior, had just been subbed out in favor of Greg Stiemsma. The Celtics looked to be entering a seriously troublesome time and Game 5 seemed to be falling away from them.
But with one fierce defensive stand after another, the Celtics roared back.
The Heat would not make another field goal until the fourth quarter. They would manage just one point over the final six minutes of the third, including zero over the last 3:47, while Boston seized a 65-60 lead with a 15-1 run.
As Erick Spoelstra explained during a sideline interview with Doris Burke after the quarter, “They just have us a little bit twisted in the mind.”
I won’t bore you with a play-by-play description of the final six minutes of Heat possessions during the third quarter, but know it would go something like this:
1. missed jumper
2. missed jumper
3. missed jumper
4. Oh! Lebron finally takes it to the hoop, draws a foul and hits a free throw
5. missed jumper
The Heat’s offense seemed to gradually get worse, until their final full possession of the quarter featured LeBron James, isolated against Mickael Pietrus after a miserable 20 seconds which were entirely lacking of offensive continuity, launching a step-back, fadeaway jumper that only had a prayer because he’s the world’s greatest basketball player. His attempt struck the rim, twisted out and was rebounded by Kevin Garnett. Keyon Dooling drilled a three on Boston’s next chance and the Heat — which once had an opportunity to knock the Celtics down to their knees — suddenly trailed by five entering the fourth quarter.
We can discuss so many crucial fourth-quarter plays that allowed Boston to win — Pierce’s triple in James’ eye socket, Rondo’s critical offensive rebounds, Pietrus’ threes, Garnett’s two huge jumpers, etc. But Miami had a chance, with their lead nine, with Garnett on the bench, to deliver a knockout blow. Instead, the Celtics parried the punches and gave themselves a chance to provide fourth-quarter heroics.