Boston [US], September 26 (ANI): Boston Celtics coach Brad Stevens hailed the defensive display showed by his team after defeating the Miami Heat in the Eastern Conference Finals of the NBA on Friday (local time).
Boston Celtics fought back to clinch Game 5 against Miami Heat 121-108 and the Celtics now have a chance to draw level in Game 6 on Monday after making it 2-3 in the best-of-seven conference finals.
Jayson Tatum (31 points) and Jaylen Brown (28 points) starred for the winning team, while Heat had six players in double figures with Goran Dragic leading the pack with 23 points.
After leading through the first half, the Heat found the going tough in the third quarter after some fine defensive display from the Celtics. From there on, the Celtics maintained the lead and closed the game in their favour.
"I thought we played with great tenacity defensively in the third quarter and our offense followed suit. They are a heck of an offensive team, a heck of a well-coached team, and are hard to guard," said the 43-year-old coach Stevens.
The 43-year-old coach also praised center Daniel Theis who was the third-highest scorer for the Celtics with 15 points and 13 rebounds to his name.
"I thought he was pretty good all night. He started the game with good energy and defensively I felt he was one of our bright spots in the first half but then in the second half he was excellent. We need him to provide what he provides. He was great in the middle and he was great on the glass at both ends," added Stevens.
Heat's head coach Erik Spoelstra felt his team did not compete hard enough. "We are not getting caught up in all the nerves. Boston deserved and earned what they got. We did not compete hard enough defensively and we paid the price for that," said Spoelstra.
The 49-year-old coach acknowledged that Game 6 of the Eastern Conference finals isn't going to be easy and they will look to seal their spot in the NBA Finals on Monday.
"We have great respect for Boston. We are not expecting it to be easy, we have to earn it. We will learn from this, go to work tomorrow and try to get ready for the next one," added Spoelstra. (ANI)