After losing two straight games in Cleveland, all eyes were on Brad Stevens’ young Boston roster to see if they could bounce back at home. If the Celtics lost game 5, then it would have essentially ended their chances of making the NBA finals- as they would have to beat LeBron and company in Cleveland. Therefore, all the pressure was on a Boston squad lead by veteran Al Horford, Jaylen Brown, and rookie Jayson Tatum.
The pressure did not get to Boston, as they were able to beat Cleveland 96-83. Jayson Tatum continued to impress, scoring 24 points on 46% shooting percentage. For Cleveland, the biggest issue was that they were unable to hit any 3 pointers. As a team, the Cavs only made 9 of 34 from behind the arc.
Even LeBron struggled from distance, making only one of his six 3-point attempts. Speaking of LeBron, it appeared that fatigue clearly played a factor in his ability to play at his highest level. While he did score 26 on 50% shooting, it was clear that he was not 100%. Furthermore, if this Cleveland team is going to win, they are going to need LeBron to score more than 26 points.
Despite this ugly performance, the Cavs still have game 6 on their home-court in front of their fans. It is going to be up to Cleveland’s role players again for Tyronn Lue’s team to have a chance to win the game.
The Celtics on the other hand, are one win away from advancing to the NBA Finals and ending LeBron’s dominant reign in the East Conference. For them to win on the road, they are going to need production from the entire team. Thus far in road games, it has only been Jayson Tatum showing up- averaging 17.5 points per game. The rest of Boston’s starters have significant a drop-off in scoring when on the road.
Regardless, expect a very competitive game 6 in Cleveland. The Celtics do not want to slip and allow a winner-take-all game 7 against LeBron James. That’s an incredibly hard task to accomplish, even if they are at home.