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The Celtics' rollercoaster season ended a round short of a return to the NBA Finals.  Now they enter an offseason of uncertainty as the front office decides whether to keep together their two best players. Jayson Tatum says he’d like to see Jaylen Brown signed long term. Brown is eligible for a nearly $300 million extension. But giving it to him and another worth more than $300 million to Tatum the following year may be a commitment the team isn’t willing to make for a duo that hasn’t yet brought Boston a title.

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After blowing a second straight chance to eliminate the Celtics, the Miami Heat are headed home with still two more chances to clinch a spot in the NBA Finals. But they would be wise to do it in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference finals on Saturday night and avoid a decisive seventh game in Boston. Miami star Jimmy Butler says the Heat are “all smiles” even after the Celtics won 110-97 in Game 5 to cut the Heat’s lead in the best-of-seven series to 3-2.  None of the other 150 teams in NBA history to fall behind 3-0 have come back to win a best-of-seven playoff series. But the Celtics won Game 4 in Miami by 17 points and then led by as many as 24 in a Game 5 victory.

Derrick White had 24 points, including six 3-pointers, helping lead the charge as the Boston Celtics dominated the Miami Heat 110-97 in Game 5 on to extend the Eastern Conference finals. Marcus Smart had 23 points and five steals. Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown finished with 21 points apiece as the Celtics claimed their second straight win and trimmed Miami’s series lead to 3-2.  It keeps alive Boston’s hopes of becoming the first team in NBA history to overcome a 3-0 deficit in a best-of-seven series. Game 6 is Saturday in Miami. Duncan Robinson led the Heat with 18 points.

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The Celtics finally found cohesion between their defense and offense in their Game 4 win, capitalizing off 16 Heat turnovers and finding their 3-point shot. Now down 3-1, the question is whether Boston can carry that energy home, a place where it is just 4-5 this postseason to keep alive its hopes of extending the series. At the very least the Celtics’ win made their hopes of becoming the first NBA team in 151 tries to overcome a 3-0 deficit in a best-of-seven series shift from insurmountable back to possible heading into Game 5.

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Former Red Sox slugger and Hall of Famer David Ortiz knows what the Boston Celtics are facing and understands about coming back from a 3-0 hole. He’s done it, leading the 2004 World Series champion Red Sox from the three-games-to-none deficit in the American League championship series against the rival New York Yankees. They were the first team ever _ and only still _ to do it in MLB history. “Big Papi” says if the Celts believe, they can become the first NBA team to overcome an 0-3 deficit.


BOSTON >> The Boston Bruins are going to start the regular season without one of their top players. Center Patrice Bergeron is day-to-day with a lower-body injury and did not make the trip …

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