What do the Celtics have to do to win Game 6?
The Celtics are down 3-2 in the NBA Finals after their Game 5 loss to the Warriors. They have two games to win it all, but it starts with one on Thursday.
The Boston Celtics are in a precarious situation. They blew Game 4 against the Golden State Warriors in Boston to make it a 2-2 series only to blow it again in San Francisco to give the Warriors a 3-2 lead. That means the Warriors are one game away from winning it all, and that the Celtics have their backs against the wall.
Fortunately for Boston, that’s when they tend to shine. They have fought hard to stay in the playoffs, avoiding elimination three times. To keep it up, they have to win two more games, starting with Game 6 on Thursday in Boston.
What happened to the Celtics in Game 5?
The Celtics turnovers were a big issue yet again in Game 5. In their 104-94 loss, they committed 18 turnovers, leading to 22 Golden State points. They also missed 10 free throws. Had they made those, it would have been a totally different ball game.
The Celtics became the first team in the NBA Finals history to ever miss its first 12 shots from long range as well as the first team to make eight straight from three. Talk about inconsistency - what a roller coaster.
“That’s the thing we’re not having throughout a full game, is consistent efforts, sustained effort, more so offensively than anything,” said Celtics coach Ime Udoka. “That’s the part where we got to have carryover not only game to game but quarter to quarter, where we saw it happened in the third but not the fourth.”
After the Celtics fell 16 points behind the Warriors early, Jayson Tatum and Al Horford hit back-to-back threes in the second quarter. Tatum made three more in the third quarter. Then it changed again. They missed their next seven from long range and Jaylen Brown missed a pull-up at the end of the third quarter, instead letting the ball get away to Warriors’ Jordan Poole who hit a three-point buzzer-beater to take the lead before the fourth quarter. Tatum did his best to help the Celtics make a fourth-quarter comeback, but they were too far gone after penalties and frustrations got the better of them.
“You gotta give all those guys credit,” said Celtics star Jayson Tatum. “Everybody for them played well tonight. They were the better team tonight.”
Likelihood of a Celtics comeback win?
It’s not an impossible task to come back and win the final after being down 3-2, but it is one that hasn’t been done too often in NBA history. In fact, the winner of Game 5 in a 2-2 tied series has gone on to win the championship 73.3% of the time (22-8). Interestingly, one of the teams to have lost in this scenario is the Warriors, in 2016 to the Cleveland Cavaliers.
As mentioned before though, this is where the Celtics have shone in the post season thus far. They came back from a 3-2 series in the Eastern Conference semi-finals against the Milwaukee Bucks and then did it again against the Miami Heat in the Conference Finals to make it to where they are now with the Golden State Warriors in the NBA Finals. When they play well, they play really well, and they can make it far. But that consistency is key - the Celtics can’t afford to waver right now.
“We ain’t gotta win two in one day, we just have to win one game on Thursday,” said Tatum. “We’ve been in this situation before. It’s not over. We just have to win on Thursday and that’s all we have to worry about right now.”