Celtics Remain Undefeated at Home and are Now One Win Away from the NBA Finals

Think about that headline for a second. The Boston Celtics are one win away from the NBA Finals. No Kyrie, no Gordon Hayward, hell no Daniel Theis! Yet they are 48 minutes away from going back to the NBA Finals for the first time in 8 years.

Granted they still have to finish off LeBron James in Cleveland.

The C’s remain undefeated at home in the playoffs this year at 10-0 yet are only 1-6 on the road. It really is preposterous how much better this Celtics team is at home than on the road, and you could say the same exact thing about the Cavs. The home team in this series has won every game and won it running away. In the first five games the home team has won by 25, 13, 30, 9, and 13. Thats banana land.

So I would very much prefer to have the Celtics finish off the Cavs and drive LeBron out of Cleveland on his home court. BUT, recent history suggests that is unlikely. But I really, really do not want to have to go to Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals to try and beat LeBron with a trip to the Finals (his 8th in a row) on the line. A game like that could go either way. Young guys like Jaylen Brown, Jayson Tatum, and Terry Rozier could absolutely ball out and it wouldn’t surprise me. Or they could wilt in the face of a veteran championship winning team while LeBron turns on God Mode for 50 points. So lets just avoid that scenario and take care of business in Game 6.

Boston got back to its winning ways and lead Cleveland by as much as 21 before ultimately winning 96-83. The Celtics had everyone chipping in with 5 players scoring in double digits, which is even more impressive when you consider the fact that Brad Stevens shortened his rotation to just SEVEN players. Only seven guys even got in the game last night: Jayson Tatum, Al Horford, Aron Baynes, Terry Rozier, Marcus Morris, Marcus Smart, and Jaylen Brown. Abdel Nader and Guerschon Yabusele each got 2 mins of garbage time at the end of the game so that doesn’t count. Don’t tell Yabusele that though as he jacked up two 3’s (and missed both) in the 120 seconds he was on the floor.

Jayson Tatum had a coming out party in Game 5 as he was pretty much unstoppable, save for some missed layups that he should have had. Tatum led the Celtics 24 points and was beating defenders off the dribble and pulling up for daggers going 3-7 from deep.

Al Horford was solid with a respectable 15/12 double double on the night and earned a new nickname from The 300s in the process.

As we predicted on this very site earlier this week, going back home was the perfect elixir for guys like Marcus Morris so he could continue to be the glorious dickhead that he is.

In all seriousness though, I don’t think that counts as an official win in the NBA history books because if you didn’t hear, LeBron was tired. The entire second half the ESPN broadcast team reminded everyone how tired LeBron looked.

So that’ll be the storyline everywhere today. Not the fact that the Celtics have pushed the Cavs to the brink of elimination, it’ll be that LeBron didn’t have enough Gatorade before Game 5 so he was too tired. Maybe he should be taking a nap instead of doing all that exhausting reading before the game.

The Cavs were on their heels all night long as we saw guys like JR Smith come back down to earth scoring 2 points going 1-6 from the field and 0-4 from deep. Smith was playing hero ball all night long and I loved it.

The crowd at TD Garden had its fangs out last night too. After Smith banged knees with a Celtics player he was slow to get up and the Boston crowd, remembering Smith’s cheap shot on Horford and prior to that Jae Crowder, had little sympathy busting out the “FUCK YOU JR” chant.

Kevin Love was even getting the business from the rich white guys sitting courtside.

Basically when the Celtics win its because everyone is contributing and they limit the Cavs supporting cast. In Game 5 the Cavs only had 2 players in double digits scoring with Tristan Thompson (1 pt), Smith (2 pts), Larry Nance Jr. (2 pts), Kyle Korver (7 pts), George Hill (7 pts) all falling back to earth.

If there was ever one graphic that summarized this Celtics vs LeBron matchup its this:

So the Celtics have a golden opportunity to close this series out and earn a trip to the NBA Finals in Game 6 on Friday night. Until then though Celtics fans can take their fingers off the panic button.

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