Nothing is guaranteed. But the Celtics have 48 minutes, then 48 more if they need them.
The home team has won every game in the Eastern Conference finals.
Kevin Love, with 14 points, was the only other player to score in double figures for the Cavs, who host Game 6 on Friday trying to stay on track for a 4th straight trip to the Finals. “For some reason, we were just so locked in, and engaged, as we have been in the past”. “Guys are going to be physical, especially with me being the young guy”. Just as the Celtics wouldn’t have wanted to ponder their possibilities of dodging elimination in Cleveland tomorrow night had they lost this one. “His energy, his physicality. just very happy that he had a good game”. The Celtics played bad shooting just 36.5% from the field.
Reserves Marcus Morris and Marcus Smart each scored 13. “It took a team-full effort”.
“Sometimes you see rookies have problems when they get to this point”. Jayson Tatum scored 24 points and delicately pushed the lethal blade from above the Celtics’ head to a perch above the Cavaliers’ collective noggin. This series has all the looks of a seven-game thriller as both teams have been solid at home so far, so I like LeBron and the Cavaliers bouncing back here, but I just don’t feel comfortable laying this many points. (Tatum) was great tonight in the first quarter. He got some deflections, and that fed everyone else. “We couldn’t make. And if you don’t make, it’s going to come back to bite you”. It just wasn’t enough with the rest of his supporting cast struggling to put up points.
“At their place, they were the aggressor”, he said. The game showed why no one should be holding out hope for a Cavs comeback. “We did a great job of that”.
If the Celtics can ride the synergy of their bigger starting lineup to a victory in one of the next two games, they’ll be headed to the NBA Finals.
And by not rotating off James’s teammates, Boston is less likely to get beat from beyond the three-point line.
To understand why this play was so important, you must rewind six months to opening night in Cleveland when Tatum was battling a major case of first-game jitters.
“That’s when I have the most fun”, said Tatum, who needs one more 20-point game to tie Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s rookie record of 10 in a postseason.
But not everybody trains with former Navy SEALs to give him the most physically imposing physique in the game. He was not able to create space for the rest of his team, and they responded with absolutely nothing.
Al Horford had 15 points and 12 rebounds, and 21-year-old Jaylen Brown had 17 points for Boston. At one point they got in a literal fight when Marcus Morris had a hard foul on Larry Nance Jr. Not for Boston Celtics fans, however.