Miami – In three of the first four games of the Eastern Conference Finals, the team that leads at the end of the first quarter has been on top every time.
So, as the Boston Celtics prepare to take on the Miami Heat in Game 5 at the FTX Arena on Wednesday night, with the series holding two games each, they know they need to focus on a strong start for this game to get away. Triumphant the much-needed road.
“Whatever happens the last game is the last game, no matter if we win by 25 or 2,” the Celtics star Jason Tatum He said after the shooting in Boston on Wednesday morning. “They are all considered one [win]. So we shouldn’t feel better about ourselves because we blew them up [in Game 4].
“And I think we shouldn’t relax. We should kind of look at it as a new streak, and tonight is a game that has to be won. And I think when you treat something as a must-win and you have a more sense of urgency, to start especially, I think that’s how we have to approach tonight, and that happens with the first five or six minutes of the game.”
For the past two rounds, dating back to the start of the Eastern Conference semifinals against the Milwaukee Bucks, the Celtics are now clean 5-0 when they lost the previous game. But after winning, Boston was a bleak 1-4, with their only home win coming in Game 7 against Milwaukee.
If Boston are to break out of this streak and reach the NBA Finals for the first time since 2010, that record must change — and the Celtics will have to win another game in Miami after winning Game Two here last week.
In addition to starting the game well, another obvious difference in every game is Boston’s ability – or lack thereof – to take care of the ball. In the Celtics’ two-time victory, they only made a few turnovers. In their loss, they threw the ball all over the gym, allowing the Heat to have one easy go basket after another.
“I think we’re confident,” guard Payton Pritchard She said. “We know what we have to do, take care of the ball, set the tone defensively, but we were in that position on the last string.”
“It just starts with the jump… It starts with our strength. Every time we come out of a loss, we play as if our backs are against the wall. We have to take that mentality in every game and obviously we take care of the ball. In the games we lost. , we made 39 turns. The matches we won, we made 18 turns, and that’s a big difference.”
Boston is also waiting to see if the goalkeeper Marcus Smart and the center Robert Williams III You can play, as both are listed as questionable for a second consecutive game. Smart is dealing with the right ankle sprain that kept him out of Match 4, and Celtics coach Ime Udoka said he still had “pain, swelling and soreness” ahead of Game 5. Smart will again get the treatment for the whole day before the previous match. Odoka said a decision has been made on his status.
In the meantime, Williams is also dealing with constant soreness, stemming from the left knee that has been causing him so many problems for the past two months. Williams underwent meniscus surgery late in the regular season, which made him miss most first-round matches in Boston against Brooklyn, then missed three games in the Milwaukee series due to pain from a bone bruise.
He also sat on Boston’s loss in Game 3 in the series with a soreness in that knee, then came back in Game 4 – and seemed to limp occasionally in the third quarter.
As with Smart, Udoka said Williams will receive treatment throughout the day before his condition is determined.