Pathetic. Absolutely pathetic. In the biggest game of your season, a season in which you talked all year about how the pain from the Finals loss ruined your life and all you wanted was to get back to the postseason, the Boston Celtics put up one of the most gutless performances of their season. This was a complete ass kicking by the Sixers and I might even be underselling it. They regained the lead at 13-10 with 7:24 left in the first quarter and the Celtics never even tied it again. At home. In the biggest game of your season.
It's hard to get more embarrassing than that. I guess there really is a Game 5 curse or something
The Celtics have now lost 9 of their last 16 games ON THEIR HOME FLOOR. What good is homecourt advantage if it literally is not an advantage? They blew homecourt to open the series, then they looked great by actually playing defense and then won it back only to them immediately lose it with one of the most embarrassing performances of the season.
When I say this was a complete no show, I mean in essentially every facet of the game. Defensively there was once again no intensity. They at no point imposed their will on the Sixers offense. Far from it. The Sixers dictated things right from the jump. The Celts had about a 5 minute stretch in the first quarter where they did not force a single stop. The same exact shit we saw in Game 4 happened again to start Game 5, so the result should not be all that surprising.
Then there was Tatum's start. The one thing you need in these big games is the stars to not only show up, but show up early.
Tatum started 0-5 (0-3).
That's so killer for the Celts offense when that happens. It was no different from his 0-6 start in Game 4. The whole plan requires both Tatum and Brown to show up, and for the second straight massive game Tatum was nowhere to be found to start. That's a problem. He eventually played out of it and finished with 36, but the damage was done early
Meanwhile, Embiid/Harden/Maxey got whatever they wanted early. Those three combined for 27 points on 10-18 shooting. They got the start the Celtics needed. Jaylen did what he could starting 4-6, but as we know if you don't get stops nothing else matters. The Celts opened with a 33 point quarter, allowed another 30 points in the 3rd, and that was that. Credit to them for this win. They dominated.
When you fuck around and lose winnable playoff games and series get extended, you open yourself up to performances like this. One bad shooting night can fuck your entire season up, and that's what we got tonight. Celts shot just 39/31% in the biggest game of the year. There was no flow, they started to panic after missing so many open looks, and the defense immediately suffered.
Al Horford following up his 3-9 (2-7) with a 0-7 (0-7) was simply too much to overcome. The Celtics offense needs guys to hit their open looks, or at the very least don't miss every shot you take. His and Tatum's struggles early are what dug the Celts initial hole and then helped the Sixers get separation.
We also cannot ignore the guard play. Where was it? When this team gets poor play from their guard trio, they're fucked. Pick anyn one you want, Smart was awful, White didn't really make an impact, Brogdon was gross off the bench. Essentially every single player on the roster shit the bed in this Game 5. It truly is unbelievable.
Not only that, but this team missed 9 FTs. 9. Right after they missed 6 to help lose Game 4. This team was shooting 90% from the line in the series and completely shit their pants. Horrendous.
I understand that you aren't always going to hit shots, so where is the toughness and energy to lock in defensively? The best way to help your struggling offense is to play defense, and that never came at any point. The Celts were getting dog walked on both ends of the floor for 48 minutes. Where's the pride? Where's the anger? The Celts were punched in the mouth and NEVER punched back.
That is both pathetic and inexcusable.
I'm not sure even Red Auerbach himself could have done anything about this game, but what I do know is Joe wasn't all that great either. They never really adjusted to the Harden/Embiid P&R from the left side w/ Rob. He tried to ignite a spark with Pritchard but that obviously did nothing. I think this was more just a case of the Sixers coming into the Garden and shoving it right down the Celtics throats. The players choked. Simple as that.
So we now relive what happened this time last year. Down 2-3 on the road into a tough building with the season on the line. The Celtics are now on life support, and they need to do something that no team that has been in their position has done in NBA history. No team with this W/L pattern has won the series when dropping Game 5 at home. That is now the Celtics reality.
All year we wondered if the Celts not learning from their mistakes would cost them when it mattered most. Given what we just watched, it's hard to argue they haven't.
Now they're one loss away from their season being over.
This team loves doing things the hard way I guess, well it's not going to get harder than this. Gotta win Game 6