What a weekend for the Celtics. Feeding off the home crowds, the C’s were able to win two huge games to even up the series at 2 games apiece. We now have a best of three to determine who will play The Mistake On The Lake they call Cleveland in the Conference Semifinals. Atlanta still maintains home court advantage with Games 5 and 7 (if necessary) in Atlanta.
Keys to the Game:
Isaiah Thomas is leading the NBA in points scored this postseason. The Celtics cannot continue to rely on him to score all the teams points. Guys like Jae Crowder, Marcus Smart, and Evan Turner need to make solid contributions on the offensive end. I understand Crowder is dealing with a pretty bad ankle injury and has been ineffective shooting the ball. He needs to return to where he has had a lot of success. He needs to drive to the basket and either take a layup, or kick the ball out to the open man on the perimeter.
Speaking of Marcus Smart, he needs to continue to play the smart basketball he played in Game 4. This means that he needs to avoid trying to draw a foul by either flopping, or attempting to draw contact on a jump shot. When Marcus takes a legit jump shot, the ball actually sometimes goes in!!! He doesn’t help this team by playing like a maniac.
Defense. Defense. Defense. The Celtics pride themselves on their defense and this could be the difference in hostile territory. Playing on the road, the Celtics cannot afford to let a Hawk get hot. This means they need to contain Kyle Korver behind the arc. His 3-point shot has killed the Celtics this series. They also need to prevent Paul Millsap from having another huge game. I highly doubt Millsap will go for another 45 points, but I wouldn’t count out a 25- or 30-point performance.
The Celtics do not have their home crowd to feed off of. The fans will not be getting inside the heads of players like Dennis Shroder. The Celtics need to make a quick start to take Atlanta’s small crowd out of the game early.
Lastly and most importantly, the Celtics need to make their shots. They cannot afford to fall behind early in Game 5. I would also like to see defensive stops lead directly to points on offense. With their small lineup, the Celtics need to score fast break points.
I’m beyond excited for this game tonight, especially after the Tom Brady deflategate crap yesterday. I already have my IT #4 t-shirt on. It’s a brand new series. Lets go Celtics! (Don’t forget about the Sox too, also playing in Atlanta tonight with David Price on the mound).