After falling down 0-2 in the first two games of the 2016 NBA playoffs in Atlanta, the Boston Celtics have clawed their way back to tie the series at a two games a piece. The situation seemed dire as the C’s looked just downright awful in the opening games of the first round. They could not seem to bury open shots, turned the ball over, and allowed the Hawks to get to the basket with ease. To make matters worse, injuries to starting shooting guard Avery Bradley and key bench Center Kelly Olynyk took a huge toll on the Celtics rotation. Many people believed that the Boston run would come to a very early end, but once again the Celtics were able to silence to doubters.
Two games back in Boston were just what the Celtics needed and they took advantage of playing on their home court in a big way. Game 3 proved to be the Isaiah Thomas show where the NBA all star dropped a career high 42 points en route to the Celtics first playoff win since 2012. Game 4 quickly turned into the Paul Millsap show as the forward for the Hawks seemed unstoppable, putting in 45 points. The resilient Celtics found their answers down the stretch, however, and were able to stifle the big man just enough to end up with a nine point victory to even the series at 2-2.
The first round series has been a battle so far and it has shown no signs of slowing down. Now tonight comes a pivotal Game 5 in Atlanta where the winner will be one win away from advancing the the Eastern Conference Semifinals to face the Cleveland Cavaliers. This game is especially important for the Celtics, who have struggled miserably on the road against the Atlanta Hawks this season and in this series. A road team has yet to win a game in this series, so a statement win on the road in Atlanta would be huge for the Celtics momentum.
Once again, the Celtics have overcome adversity to give themselves a chance at success. If the Celtics win tonight, then my pre-series prediction can still hold true with Boston winning in six games, but a loss would force them to have to win in seven. Anything can happen and I guess that is why they play the game my friends.
Celtics in 6.