The Boston Celtics are on the verge of extinction as a result of the fall of the fourth quarter.
The Celtics apparently stepped up their game after tying the series in two games to return to Boston for an impressive fourth quarter in Game 4.
And through three-and-a-half quarters of Game 5, they maintained that momentum.
With 8:15 left in the fourth quarter, a shot from Payton Pritchard turned it 98-87 Celtic.
For a team defensively stingy, an 11-point lead seemed insurmountable.
Box theft important win | #ChasingHistory | Episode 20
In a crucial Game 5, defending champions Milwaukee Box returned to a dramatic fourth quarter to take a 3-2 series lead, beating the Boston Celtics 110-107. pic.twitter.com/FX4uGr4BjL
– NBA (BANBA) May 12, 2022
However, Milwaukee will close the game at 23-9.
Giannis Antetokounmpo and Jrue Holiday scored 17 points or assisted.
And Holiday seals it defensively with a block and Marcus Smart steals it in the final 10 seconds.
As the series returns to Milwaukee for a possible close-out game, the Celtics will have to lock in to keep their title hopes alive.
3. Fight for 48 minutes
At the Celtic doubles rate in this series, they were ahead in less than two minutes of play.
Boston battled a 100-99 lead with 1:49 in the fourth quarter of Game 3.
And Boston controlled most of Game 5, holding the 105-102 advantage with 0:49 left on the clock.
Both games saw Milwaukee emerge victorious.
Say what you want about the referees in Game 3, but the results don’t change.
Ime Udoka said the referee told him that Marcus Smart was making a sweeping motion on the foul in the final shot: “You can’t say it’s a sweep, he’s going to the shot. Bad call.”
– Jared Weiss (@JaredWeissNBA) May 7, 2022
A better game from the Celtics down the stretch of these two games could radically change the narrative of this series.
Instead of trailing 3-2, they could be 3-2 on top or rest at home after a gentleman’s sweep.
Boston has played well enough to come up in this series, especially by dismissing Chris Middleton.
They will have to continue their tough game in Game 6 but keep their feet on the gas to close the potential lead.
2. Slow down Giannis
There are some players in the league who are very talented or really influential to stop.
Giannis is one of those players.
So far 2022 Playoff Giannis:
The best player in the world? 3 pic.twitter.com/wEYgcU3ZPP
– Hoop Central (TheHoopCentral) May 12, 2022
This is why the Celtics should not focus on stopping the Giannis; They should just try to slow him down.
Boston has done a decent job in this series.
Outside of Game 3 and Game 5, Antetokounmpo has been shooting below 50%.
Al Harford and Grant Williams are the two primary defenders thrown to Giannis and have had moderate success.
Harford and Williams must defend at a high level and their teammates must support in Game 6.
They can’t let Giannis go for 40 points in 59% shooting as they did in Game 5.
The Celtics must limit the scope for change and show a wall in front of them in the semi-court.
If he starts hitting the perimeter jumper, nothing can be done.
But the Celtics have to promise to make life difficult for a two-time MVP.
1. The Celtics’ Star Duo must be shown
During play-offs, teams usually go as far as their stars
This means that if their superstar (ra) plays well, the team will play well.
For Celtics, those two players are Jason Tatum and Jillian Brown.
Here is the state line of each of the two wins in the Boston series:
- Game 2: Tatum – 29 points (10-20 FG, 5-10 3PT, 4-5 FT), 8 assists, 3 rebounds.
- Game 2: Brown – 30 points (11-18 FG, 6-10 3PT, 2-2 FT), 6 assists, 6 rebounds.
- Game 4: Tatum – 30 points (11-24 FG, 3-10 3PT, 5-6 FT), 5 assists, 13 rebounds.
- Game 4: Brown – 18 points (5-11 FG, 2-5 3PT, 6-6 FT), 1 assist, 3 rebounds.
And here’s Boston’s status line for each of the three rates:
- Game 1: Tatum – 21 points (6-18 FG, 4-9 3PT, 5-8 FT), 6 assists, 6 rebounds.
- Game 1: Brown – 12 points (4-13 FG, 3-9 3PT, 1-2 FT), 4 assists, 9 rebounds
- Game 3: Tatum – 10 points (4-19 FG, 0-6 3PT, 2-3 FT), 3 assists, 1 rebound
- Game 3: Brown – 27 points (8-16 FG, 1-5 3PT, 10-11 FT), 4 assists, 12 rebounds.
- Game 5: Tatum – 34 points (12-29 FG, 2-11 3PT, 8-9 FT), 4 assists, 6 rebounds.
- Game 5: Brown – 26 points (9-19 FG, 3-7 3PT, 5-6 FT), 6 assists, 8 rebounds.
Pure calculation statistics certainly do not tell the whole story.
But when Boston won, Tatam and Brown averaged 53.5 points in 50.7% shooting with 10 assists and 12.5 rebounds.
When Boston lost, that average dropped to 43.3 points in 37.7% shooting with 9 assists and 14 rebounds.
A team is more than just two players, but the stars show the way.
Tatum and Brown must get on the road to force a Game 7.