Three things to look for in Game 5 Monday night:
In order for the Celtics to move on to the Eastern Conference Finals, they’ll need a ticket. The Big Ticket, to be exact.
Kevin Garnett is the C’s most important player going forth, and look no further than the last four games for proof. In the two games that the Celtics have won, Garnett combined for 56 points (24-of-37), 24 rebounds, 3 blocks, and 3 turnovers. In the two losses, KG has tallied just 24 points (10-of-24), 23 rebounds, 4 blocks, and 11 turnovers.
Game 4 was by far his worst performance yet, and for the C’s to win tonight, he’ll have to be a bigger part of the offense.
Rebounds, rebounds, rebounds
What’s one barometer for success in this Celtics-Sixers series?
Well, the headline probably gave it away – rebounds. In each of the four games, the team that won the rebound battle ended up winning the game.
A quick breakdown: Game 1 – Celtics 45, Sixers 41. Game 2 – Sixers 47, Celtics 36. Game 3 – Celtics 44, Sixers 37. Game 4, Sixers 52, Celtics 38.
It’s also important to note that the Sixers grabbed 17 offensive rebounds in Game 4. Being active and aggressive on the glass is a necessity for either team tonight. Rebounding is largely effort and positioning. If the C’s want it bad enough, Elton Brand and Spencer Hawes shouldn’t be able to prevent them from having it.
Had the Celtics taken care of business on Friday, they’d be set to clinch the series Monday in Boston.
As we’re all well aware, they flopped in the second half, and here we are now, all tied up. It’s now a three-game series, but with tonight’s game in Boston, the Celtics must come out and protect their home.
Going back to Philadelphia down 2-3, against a Philly team that will be full of confidence and four quarters away from a huge upset, is not a look the C’s want. A win Monday would likely be the last push the C’s need to put Philly away for good in six games.