Clever proves why he’s important to Celtics’ results in Game five win initially appeared on NBC Sports Boston
BOSTON — Each after in a though, Marcus Clever reminds us that he’s nonetheless the Celtics’ emotional leader.
That reminder came just 17 seconds into Game five on Thursday evening.
On the Miami Heat’s opening possession, Clever stripped a driving Bam Adebayo, dove headfirst to safe the loose ball and shoveled a pass to Jayson Tatum, who went coast-to-coast for a layup to ignite the TD Garden crowd.
Smart’s further work set the tone for the Celtics, who jumped out to a 15-point initial-quarter lead and under no circumstances looked back in a 110-97 victory. Soon after trailing three- in the Eastern Conference Finals, the C’s have rallied to win two straight and place significant stress on the Heat getting into Game six in Miami on Saturday evening.
Derrick White (a group-higher 24 points) and Tatum (21 points and a season-higher 11 assists) each played important roles in Boston’s Game five victory. But Clever was the engine that drove the Celtics on each ends.
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“Clever was just a beast tonight,” Jaylen Brown mentioned right after the game. “I never know what game you guys have been watching, but Marcus on each sides of the ball was unbelievable tonight. It was a fantastic functionality from him.”
Even though the Celtics are utilized to the 2023 NBA Hustle Award winner bringing the work, Clever raised his offensive game as properly, matching his 2023 playoff higher with 24 points on 7 of 12 shooting. He and White combined to hit ten three-pointers, a deadly recipe for opponents loading up to quit Tatum and Brown.
“You will need everyone at some point to come up major, and Clever and D-White have been the explanation we won tonight,” Tatum mentioned. “These two guys, their potential to hit shots tonight, spread out the defense, and then make plays on the defensive finish — we fed off their power tonight.”
The Celtics necessary an power enhance right after an embarrassing Game three loss in Miami that made what appeared to be an insurmountable deficit. But right after the C’s rallied to win Game four, Clever produced confident to set the tone in Game five, and his group responded by out-hustling a Heat group constructed on hustle.
Boston topped Miami in basically every single hustle stat Thursday, from points off turnovers (27 to 19) to second-opportunity points (17 to 7) to steals (13 to six). That all began with Smart’s aggressive mindset, which the Celtics will will need to bring to Miami on Saturday evening in what should really be their toughest test of the postseason to date.
“He’s just an emotional important for us,” head coach Joe Mazzulla added of Clever. “When he’s locked in and playing each sides of the ball at a various pace, it sort of provides us our identity and our life.”