Tatum and the C’s dominate the Cavs to take 3-2 lead in the ECF

Team 1 2 3 4 T
BOS 32 21 23 20 96
CLE 19 23 18 23 83

Jayson Tatum and the Celtics utterly dominated the Cleveland Cavaliers in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Finals, and are now one game away from the NBA Finals after taking a 3-2 series lead. Tonight’s victory improved the Celtics to 10-0 at home in the playoffs.

Here are a few takeaways from today’s game.

1. Bouncing back from Games 3 & 4

The Celtics’ woes on the road continued in Games 3 & 4, as they struggled to gain any momentum against LeBron and the Cavs. In both games, the Celtics dug early holes, as they started off ice cold from the field. For instance, they fell behind by 19 in Game 4, which made it extremely hard for them to come back. Aided by the raucous crowd at the TD Garden, the Celtics were able to start off hot, and take a 13 point lead at the end of the first quarter. 

When compared to the last two games of the series, the Celtics were much more composed, and made better decisions with the basketball. The C’s were able to absorb several Cleveland runs, including a decisive one in the fourth quarter which trimmed their lead to 12 points following a 9-0 run. With about five minutes remaining in the game, it appeared as if the Celtics were reeling after several head-scratching possessions, but a lob from Terry Rozier to Al Horford ensured that the game would not slip away.

2. A star in the making

Jayson Tatum has been absolutely remarkable for the Celtics in the playoffs, and his stellar performance continued tonight. Tatum logged 24 points to go along with 7 rebounds, 4 assists, and 4 steals. Tatum was clearly the best player on the court for the Celtics and hit a number of key shots throughout the game which helped extend the Celtics’ lead. 

Tatum was thrust into the spotlight following Kyrie Irving’s injury, and his sustained brilliance has the Celtics one win away from a return to the NBA Finals.  

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(Photo by Matt Stone/Boston Herald)

3. Is Lebron tired?

Even though LeBron James had 26 points, it was still an off night for the King, as he had more turnovers than assists (six and five, respectively). LeBron had several careless turnovers which the Celtics benefited from, and it appeared as if carrying the Cavs in the early stages of the game had an impact on his effectiveness. On several occasions throughout the game, it was evident that LeBron was exhausted, which did not help the Cavs at all. 

 This could be attributed to the Celtics’ strategy of throwing several bodies at him, which requires him to exert more energy while driving to the basket. LeBron’s ineffectiveness made it much easier for the Celtics to utterly dominate the Cavs in Game 5. However, the Celtics cannot afford to let their guard down in Game 6, as LeBron will likely come at them with everything he has in an effort to stave off elimination.

LEBRON Game 5
(Photo by Charles Krupa/AP)

Looking ahead: With a victory in Friday’s Game 6, the Celtics would clinch a berth in their first NBA Finals since 2010. However, they must find a way to overcome their struggles on the road in the playoffs, as they are only 1-6 away from the TD Garden. 

 

 

Sweet 16!

The Celtics narrowly avoided an upset against the Dallas Mavericks, winning last night’s game 110-102 in overtime. This victory pushed the Celtics’ winning streak to 16 games, giving them a record of 16-2.

Although the Celtics were able to prevail against Dallas, they didn’t perform well for most of the second half. This was the fifth comeback win for the Celtics so far this season. Boston was aided by an incredible performance by Kyrie Irving, who scored 47 points while shooting 16/22 from the field (Uncle Drew was also 5/7 from three point range). Jaylen Brown also pitched in 22 points, while shooting 8/13 from the field.

Boston Celtics v Dallas Mavericks
(Photo by Danny Bollinger/NBAE)

The C’s fell behind by 13 in the fourth quarter and the game seemed to be under wraps for Dallas when they had a 5 point lead with just about 1 minute left in the game. Marcus Smart nailed a three to cut the deficit to 2 points. On the next Dallas possession, Kyrie stole the ball from Dirk Nowitzki, and lobbed the ball to Jayson Tatum who tied the game.

Kyrie truly took over in overtime, where he scored 10 of the 14 points the Celtics had in the extra period. Irving helped the Celtics go on a 10-0 run that put the finishing touches on the game.

kyrie vs mavs
(Photo from USA Today Sports)

The Celtics’ upcoming games aren’t exactly cakewalks, with tilts against the Magic, Pistons and 76ers on the horizon. However, with the grit and determination showcased over the last 3 games, it would be foolish to assume that the Celtics won’t match or even surpass the 19-game winning streak set by the 2008-09 Boston squad. 

giphy
(From Giphy)

The C’s stave off a 17-point deficit to stun the Warriors

The Celtics had a statement win last night, defeating the Golden State Warriors 92-88 in a hard fought game. Boston came storming back from a 17-point deficit in the second half, led by Jaylen Brown who fueled the 19-2 run that closed out the third quarter. This victory extended the Celtics’ winning streak to 14 games, and also snapped Golden State’s 7 game winning streak. 

Here are a few takeaways from yesterday’s game

1. Jaylen Brown was unbelieveable

Jaylen Brown played last night’s game with a heavy heart, due to the passing of his close friend, Trevin Steede. Brown wasn’t sure if he would be able to play, but he changed his mind after talking to Steede’s mother, who told him that Trevin would have wanted him to play. Brown was the spark the Celtics needed to come back and win, as he made key plays on both offense and defense. Brown had 2 clutch threes during the Celtics’ key 19-2 run, and his highlight of the game was most likely stealing the ball from Stephen Curry, which resulted in an emphatic slam. 

jaylen brown gsw
(Photo by David Butler II/ USA Today Sports)

2. It’s time to accept that the Celtics are for real

Even though the Celtics entered last night’s game with a 13-2 record, they still had many naysayers who were under the impression that this team wouldn’t do much in the playoffs against elite competition. No one expected that the Celtics would be able to slow down the red hot Warriors who had blown out their opponents in their previous 7 victories. The Celtics were able to silence their doubters with a strong outing against Golden State. For the first time since Kevin Durant joined the Warriors, the Dubs were held under 90 points (when all 4 of their All-Stars were on the court). The Celtics’ number one ranked defense proved that their ranking was no fluke, as they constantly harassed the defending champs, with only Durant having a good outing (he scored 24 points). 

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(Photo by Matt Stone/Boston Herald)

 3. Uncle Drew continues to be an efficient closer for the C’s

Kyrie Irving struggled from the field, going only 4-for-16, which was a major reason for the Celtics falling behind in the early stages of the game. Irving flipped the switch in the fourth quarter, where he scored 11 of his 16 points. Irving made several key shots for the Celtics down the stretch, including 2 clutch free throws that gave the Celtics the lead in the waning moments of the game. Throughout this season, Kyrie has been the closer for the Celtics, and that narrative didn’t change last night.

KYRIE VS GSW
(Photo by Maddie Meyer/ Getty Images)

Bonus: Check out Uncle Drew’s slick Celtics themed Kyrie 3’s

kyrie 3 gsw
(Photo by Maddie Meyer/ Getty Images)