Please join me in a collective exhale
By no means does winning Game 5 mean the series is over. I don't care what the percentage is of teams that win Game 5 that go on to win the series. I've lived through LeBron's Game 6. It would be irresponsible for anyone to think this series is over and that the Raptors are going to roll over in Game 6. Having said all that, the Celts needed this one. To take it another step, they needed a blowout like this. Game 3 brought heartbreak, Game 4 saw them play with a pathetic amount of effort from start to finish. We had no idea what version would come out in what in my opinion was the biggest game of the year. The answer?
Wire to wire dominance. An effort level that looked a whole lot more familiar and was the key to this entire game. The defense was BUZZING, offensively they looked much more prepared for the Raptors zone, and overall this was a team that played hard. Crazy what a difference that can make isn't it? When you are the aggressor the Basketball Ball Gods reward you. A huge response performance from Jaylen Brown who was aggressive right from the jump and finished with a team best 27 on an efficient 10-18. Kemba bounced back as well with an efficient 21 and even Smart got his shit together with a 12/7/6 performance. It didn't even matter that Tatum shot just 5-15, when the Celts play with this type of energy on both ends, they are very very tough to beat. The work we saw them do in limiting the Raptors perimeter attack was the difference. They were attached to every shooter, everything was contested unlike Game 4, and it's no surprise the Raptors went back to missing all their outside shots. In order for this team to win, they have to be locked in on that end. Tonight is what that looks like.
This was the fight we were all hoping to see. This was the resiliency this team needs to show if they want their season to continue. Play like this and you'll advance. Wednesday cannot come soon enough.
Full breakdown tomorrow. Tonight, we drink
3 down. 1 to go.