Here are five things that you need to know before tip-off of the Celtics’ Game 5 against the Cavaliers Thursday night at TD Garden: 

  1. Kyrie Irving is feeling it. LeBron James was sent to the bench in the second quarter of Game 4, but Irving never missed a step. Despite an ankle tweak, he went on to score 42 points and dish out four assists. Avery Bradley did as well as he could on Irving, but Game 5 is going to be about the Celtics rotation on the backend of the defense to help alleviate the pressure of the one-on-one defense. 
  2. Celtics ball movement is there, and the scoring will come. There is no doubt about it that the Celtics ball movement makes them one of the most difficult teams to guard, but there needs to be an intent to score the ball. In the 111-108 Game 3 win, the Celtics had 28 assists and in the Game 5 loss they tallied 26. It’s not about making the extra passes as it is now about finishing and converting on each possession in Game 6. 
  3. Marcus Smart and Al Horford are the game changers. Despite going 1-for-9 in Game 4, Smart was coming off a 27-point performance in Game 3. Recall games 5 and 7 of the Wizards serie
    The Celtics will host the Cavs beginning Wednesday night. (Bob DeChiara-USA Today Sports)

    The Celtics will host the Cavs beginning Wednesday night. (Bob DeChiara-USA Today Sports)

    s. The Celtics were successful because of Smarts all-around solid performances and padding of the stat sheets. In Game 5 he scored nine points, grabbed 11 rebounds and gave out six assists while in Game 7 he went for 13 points, six rebounds and four assists. Horford’s 16-point performance in Game 5 was a quiet one, but if he can to the paint and use his stepback fadeaway shot, he will be difficult to stop. 
  4. Amir Johnson and Jae Crowder are probable while Jaylen Brown is questionable. Johnson, who didn’t play in Game 4, is listed as probable for Thursday evening, but Crowder, who hit the ground after an uncomfortable fall in Game 4, joins him on that list. Crowder had a solid outing in Game 4 with 18 points and eight rebounds while shooting 4-of-7 from three-point range. Brown also looked uncomfortable at the end of the third quarter after a strong take to the basket and taking a moment on the baseline before getting up. He remains questionable for Game 5 with a hip pointer.
  5. The Celtics are HOME. In the last home appearance of the series, the crowd was vocal with its disappointment in the Celtics performance. Bradley’s game-winning three-pointer with 1/10 of a second left on the clock in Game 3 kept the series alive for another game in Boston. The crowd will be vocal and on edge to push the Celtics one game closer to even the series. 
Blog Author: 
Olivia Healy

LeBron James struggles were noticeable in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Finals and following the game Richard Jefferson said James was sick, leaving speculation James’ illness also plagued him in Game 4.

LeBron James struggles were noticeable in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Finals and following the game Richard Jefferson said James was sick, leaving speculation James’ illness also plagued him in Game 4. Despite noticeable sniffles while talking to the media during the Cavaliers shoot around prior to Game 5, James said, “I’ll be alright.”

When asked if James considered sitting out Game 3 because he was sick James simply responded, “Never.”

http://www.nba.com/cavaliers/video/2017/05/25/1495724023046-170525-shootaround-coach-1444309/

Kyrie Irving rolled his ankle late in the third quarter of Game 4 when he went up for a layup and stepped on Terry Rozier’s foot. The injury wasn’t expected to force Irving to the bench for Game 5 and after today’s shoot around it doesn’t appear Irving’s ankle is bothering him at all.

“He’s good,” said Tyronn Lue. “He’s playing. He is shooting right now. He’s good.”

 

 

The Cavaliers are nine for their last nine in closeout games, but the Cavs aren’t overlooking the C’s.

“It’s going to be tough. They made it tough on us in Cleveland and now coming into this house this environment is going to be tough,” said Lue. “I just think we have to come out with a defensive mindset and physicality.”

“We understand the closeout game is always the toughest, especially on the road,” James added. “We have been in this situation before. We look forward to the challenge.” 

Blog Author: 
John Hand

The Celtics may have the No. 1 pick in the NBA Draft next month, but it looks like one of the top prospects in this year’s class isn’t interested in playing for them.

It doesn't appear as if Lonzo Ball is interested in playing for the Celtics. (Nelson Chenault-USA TODAY Sports)

It doesn’t appear as if Lonzo Ball is interested in playing for the Celtics. (Nelson Chenault-USA TODAY Sports)

The Celtics may have the No. 1 pick in the NBA Draft next month, but it looks like one of the top prospects in this year’s class isn’t interested in playing for them.

In a radio interview Thursday, Celtics general manager Danny Ainge said prized point guard Lonzo Ball informed the team he won’t workout for them prior to the Draft. With that in mind, it appears increasingly likely the Celtics will select guard Markelle Fultz out of Washington with the top selection. 

There have been questions about whether Ball would want to play in Boston, considering his Los Angeles roots. His father, LaVar Ball, hasn’t been shy about his desire to see his boy play for the hometown squad. 

“I want him to be a Laker. But that’s just my opinion,” he said on Dale & Holley with Keefe in March. “It’s not about me liking [the Celtics] or disliking them. It’s just that we’re west coast guys,” he said. “I’d love for him to stay on the west coast where his brothers can see him all of the time. We’re a real big family. That’s just the only difference.”

While LaVar Ball’s brashness is unusual, it’s not unprecedented for a father to seemingly exert influence over his son’s professional sports career. Archie Manning advised the Chargers to not pick his son, Eli Manning, in the 2004 NFL Draft. San Diego selected Manning anyway, but wound up trading him to the Giants. 

That’s not to say Ball wouldn’t sign with the Celtics if they draft him. But he’s making his preferences clear. 

Blog Author: 
Alex Reimer

On the brink of elimination at the hands of the defending NBA champs, the Celtics may have to try and survive Game 5 without one of their bright spots of this series in first-year pro Jaylen Brown. 

Jaylen Brown is questionable for Game 5. (Ken Blaze/USA Today Sports)

Jaylen Brown is questionable for Game 5. (Ken Blaze/USA Today Sports)

On the brink of elimination at the hands of the defending NBA champs, the Celtics may have to try and survive Game 5 without one of their bright spots of this series in first-year pro Jaylen Brown. 

One night after recording nine points in 20 minutes of Game 4’s 112-99 loss at Quicken Loans Arena, the Celtics have announced Brown as questionable for Thursday’s game with a right hip pointer. 

An attempted answer to Cavaliers superstar LeBron James, who still torched the C’s for 34 points in 38 minutes despite his first half foul trouble behind a ridiculous 15-for-27 from the field, Brown joins Amir Johnson (shoulder) and Jae Crowder (groin).

But both Johnson and Crowder have been given the ‘probable’ tag by the Celtics versus the aforementioned ‘questionable’ designation on Brown.

The 20-year-old Brown has averaged 4.9 points per game and 12.9 minutes per night in 16 playoff games this spring. 

Blog Author: 
Ty Anderson

LeBron James seemingly disappeared in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Finals, finishing the game with only 11 points.

This came after he was dominant in Games 1 and 2, but his subpar performance in Game 3 might have had more to do with James’ health rather than the Celtics’ defense. 

LeBron James apparently was sick during Game 3. (David Richard/USA Today Sports)

LeBron James apparently was sick during Game 3. (David Richard/USA Today Sports)

LeBron James seemingly disappeared in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Finals, finishing the game with only 11 points.

This came after he was dominant in Games 1 and 2, but his subpar performance in Game 3 might have had more to do with James’ health rather than the Celtics’ defense. 

In a postgame interview with Fox Sports Ohio after Game 4, Richard Jefferson gave some details.

“I know he won’t talk about it, so I will give my big guy shot,” Jefferson said. “Deron Williams missed shoot around this morning because he had a little bug, just really lethargic, had no energy. I think that is what Bron had.

“Sometimes these little bugs go around. When Deron didn’t show up to shoot around it started clicking in his head. For him it was I don’t know why I was so lethargic, why I had no energy; I had nothing. These little things happen, it was no panic. Look [Lebron] was lethargic, they hit a bunch of tough shots. If Marcus Smart doesn’t go 7-of-10 from three were not even talking about it.”

James struggled in the first half of Game 4 by racking up four fouls, but he would go on to score 34 points in 38 minutes as the Cavs took a commanding three games to one series lead.

Blog Author: 
John Hand

The Cavaliers had Kyrie Irving in Game 4 on Tuesday and the Celtics didn't.</p>
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