The confidence of “Miami Heat” was not affected by the heavy losses suffered by “Boston Celtics”. Adebayo

Bam Adebayo #13 of the Miami Heat drives around Derrick White #9 during the first quarter of the Boston Celtics in Game Five of the Eastern Conference Finals at TD Garden on May 25, 2023 in Boston, Massachusetts.  NOTE TO USER:  User expressly acknowledges and agrees that by downloading and or using this photograph, User agrees to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  Maddie Meyer/Getty Images/AFP (Photo by Maddie Meyer / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / Getty Images via AFP)

Bam Adebayo of the Miami Heat drives around Derrick White of the Boston Celtics in the first quarter during Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Finals at TD Garden on May 25, 2023 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Getty Images via AFP)

MIAMI – The Miami Heat suffered a crushing Game 5 loss to the Boston Celtics 110-97 to cut their series lead to 3-2 in the Eastern Conference finals, but center Bam Adebayo insists their confidence hasn’t been damaged.

Miami was up 3-0 in the series before two straight losses raised the prospect of an unprecedented comeback for the Celtics.

No team has ever won a best-of-7 playoff series 3-0, but the Celtics head to Miami for Saturday’s Game 6 with some momentum.

Adebayo, who led the way with 16 points as Miami star Jimmy Butler was limited to 14, said the Heat haven’t had their faith shaken by back-to-back losses.

“Why should we lose confidence? When we started this journey, nobody believed in us. Everyone thought we would go out in the first round. Everyone thought we were going to make it to the second round. And now here we are one game away. “For us, we’ve always had confidence, and that’s not going to go away,” he said.

Miami appeared to be in control when it defeated Boston 128-102 in Game 3, only to lose the next two.

Miami coach Erik Spoelstra was also dismissive of the effect the apparent shift in momentum would have on his team.

“Who cares about the mood? We have a strong group. I think it’s overrated a lot. It is a competitive series,” he said.

“You always expect things to be tough in the conference finals. One game does not lead to the next. Based on all the experience we’ve had, it doesn’t matter in the playoffs. It doesn’t matter if you lose something.

“We beat them with everything in Game 3. It just doesn’t matter. It’s about preparing as a team and putting together a great game. We will play much better on Saturday. That’s all we just have to focus on right now,” he added.

Playing better will certainly require Butler to find more opportunities against a Boston defense that crowded the paint effectively.

“Our offense got a little off. We couldn’t start our offense, get the ball where we needed to go, to get to the spots where you could execute. “If we can get Jimmy more consistently in his comfort and power zones, he’ll be fine,” Spoelstra said.

“We will work on it…but collectively we need to play with more intent and power and attack, which we are fully capable of doing,” he said.

But the Celtics, who have already lost twice, have a new cohesion that is evident on the court.

“Game 3 was as low as you can get,” said Jayson Tatum, who scored 21 points and had eight rebounds and 11 assists Thursday.

“The good thing about being that low is that you can only play better. It’s only from there.

“Obviously, our defensive intensity, tied on the defensive end, showed these last two games, and then on the offensive end, I think the guys are just relaxed knowing that we’ve got to get through this tough fight. But I really feel like the guys just took a deep breath.

“After Game 3, it was the lowest in that locker room and I think everybody was kind of relieved, honestly,” he said.

If the Celtics force a Game 7, it will be on their home court on Monday.


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