3 takeaways from Game 5 vs. Boston Celtics

Dean Simpson
May 26, 2018

Reflecting on Wednesday night's 96-83 Game 5 victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers, Tatum showed just way National Basketball Association legends like Paul Pierce and Kobe Bryant have been raving about him. I just think that we can't get caught up in thinking about all the things we can't control. Best player in the game.

James scored 25 points in playing every minute of the first half, when the Cavaliers absorbed the blow of losing Kevin Love to a head injury and then out-scored the Celtics 34-18 in the second quarter to take control of the game. There's not many of us '03 [draft] class guys still around.

Terry Rozier scored 28 points to lead the Celtics, who are trying to return to the NBA Finals for the first time since 2010. "And he does a lot for his team - scores, assists, rebounds".

"It's like night and day", Tatum said of the pressure of the playoffs. "He's going to continue to get better. I expect it in myself and I expect it in him". It had been this rookie's fate to try to cover James, and as James scored 44 points in Game 4, this was not relentlessly upbeat viewing. Then Lue meant to have James start the fourth quarter after giving him some rest at the end of the third.

To extend that streak, he'll need to win two in a row.

One of them is Jayson Tatum.

Cavs coach Tyronn Lue altered his rotation to squeeze in extra rest for James at the end of the second quarter, which is unusual.

With James on the bench to open the fourth quarter, the Celtics pushed a 16-point lead to 21.

"It's not going to be pretty", Celtics guard Marcus Smart said. The NBA is more geared towards the three-point shot now, and while James has not shot as well there as the past two postseasons, his 30.9% from deep means he can not be ignored there either. Yet, again, the postgame narrative was how he looked exhausted. "He didn't play him, so it kind of threw us for a loop". They know he fights back on the brink of elimination. The Celtics prefer to defend the Cavaliers one-on-one, and since Cleveland has no other one-on-one scorer besides James - which is why they miss Kyrie Irving more than the Celtics do - the offense becomes too one-dimensional. If they were to win, they would face whoever comes out of the Western Conference - the Warriors or Rockets.

Cleveland held serve on its home court, . "No body movement, no ball movement ... just the traps we fall into". Nance finished with 10 points on 5-of-5 shooting with seven rebounds.

There have been six 40-point games in this postseason alone, including two earlier this series. Baynes made his first start of the series, subbing for Morris.

Celtics: Own a 37-0 record when leading a series 2-0. Horford had his 7th double-double of the postseason, matching a career high he set in 2015.

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