They did. The Celtics came rumbling out to start the game, attacking the basket.
The Boston Celtics, reinvigorated by a return home, beat the Cleveland Cavaliers 96-83 on Wednesday (May 23) to move within one win of reaching the NBA Finals. He has played in seven of these with the Cavs dating to the 2015 playoffs, and not only is he averaging 36.9 points, 12.0 rebounds, and 9.1 assists in those games, he has scored 40 or more five times and Cleveland has won four of those games. You can't live or die with every loss or win. While there have been times, and obvious moments during these Eastern Conference Finals that his youth and inexperience has shown, the skinny 6-foot-8, 205-pound forward has shown more than just a flash of stardom.
One user on Twitter pointed out, "I don't know what's more wonderful, that the Cavs need 37 year old Kyle Korver to be their 3rd best player or that he's doing it".
- After struggling in Games 3-5, Terry Rozier dazzled for Boston. "We need him though". The same Ojeleye that's shot just 30.3 from the field in the playoffs, which is the second-worst, behind Guerschon Yabusele's 11.1 (garbage time) field goal percentage.
Asked about the energy level of James, who finished with 26 points, 10 rebounds, 5 assists and 6 turnovers, Lue responded, "He looked a little exhausted to me".
Nope, turns out head coach Tyronn Lue simply didn't like Korver's matchup. "Here, we're trying to knock off a group with a number of champions and a generational player".
"I think out of those six (turnovers in Game 5), maybe three of them were just careless", James told reporters after the game. Yet, again, the postgame narrative was how he looked exhausted. Love, who missed a March 28 game at Charlotte with a concussion, immediately raised his left arm as if to signal he needed help.
As the pressure and physicality intensifies with Game 6 and perhaps a Game 7 approaching, it will be interesting to see how this 20-year-old phenom adjusts.
Kevin Love was the only other Cavaliers player who scored in double figures in Game 5. "Guys are going to be physical, especially with me being the young guy".
Meanwhile, Boston is now 10-0 at home during this postseason run. "But I think everybody at this point is exhausted or worn down".