THE Boston Celtics know the formula. They believe their defense, as has been the case time and again in these playoffs, will eventually wear down teams.

Hard to argue.

Jaylen Brown scored 25 points, Jayson Tatum added 22 and the Celtics are now one win from the NBA Finals. They ran away after halftime to beat the Miami Heat 93-80 on May 26 (PH time) and take a 3-2 lead in the Eastern Conference title series.

“I think the mental stress and strain we put on some teams with our defense has worked and carried us through the playoffs at times,” Celtics coach Ime Udoka said.

Al Horford had 16 points and Derrick White added 14 for the Celtics. Tatum finished with 12 rebounds and nine assists.

Bam Adebayo scored 18 points and grabbed 10 rebounds for the Heat, who shot 32 percent in the game—after shooting 33 percent in Boston’s 20-point win in Game 4. Gabe Vincent added 15, Jimmy Butler had 13 and Duncan Robinson scored 11 for Miami.

The Heat were 7 for 45 from 3-point range. They played without the injured Tyler Herro (groin), and several Miami players were questionable entering the day for a variety of ailments.

“We are not going to make any kind of deflection or any kind of excuse,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. “Boston beat us tonight. And let’s be clear about that. There’s guys that are far from 100 percent on both sides.”

Game 6 is in Boston on May 28, where a pair of trophies bearing the names of Celtics legends will be waiting. The Bob Cousy trophy goes to the East champs, the Larry Bird trophy to the East finals MVP, and the Celtics are one win from hoisting them.

“We’ve got an opportunity to do something with this group that’s special,” Brown said. “Let’s not take that for granted.”

“If you want to break through and punch a ticket to the finals, you’re going to have to do some ridiculously tough stuff,” Spoelstra said. (AP)