SAN FRANCISCO – Jayson Tatum resigned after being asked about his confidence level with the Boston Celtics after losing his 5th game in the NBA Finals.
If one of the nihilistic thoughts tormented him by scoring 27 points and getting 10 rebounds in a lost effort after a game against Golden State, he was eliminated.
“You better be sure, don’t you?” said Tatum. “We don’t have to win two a day. We just needed to win a game on Thursday. We have been in this situation before. So it’s not over. We have to win on Thursday. ”
The idea that Boston knows what to do when they turn the corner in a playoff series has been repeated several times by Celtics this post-season. They made it back to the NBA Finals on Monday night after falling to a 3-2 series disadvantage, and now, on Thursday, they have the playoffs in Boston. But the certainty they had talked about in previous series was lacking.
For many reasons, the current situation is new territory and the Celtics have been looking for answers on how to recover in time for Game 6.
“Our faith should always be there,” Celtic defender Jaylen Brown said. “Our faith must remain there. We have to act as a team, as a unit. He’s been like us all season against everyone. I don’t see it differently now. ‘
The Robert Williams Center said, “Now we have to look each other in the eye. Our backs are against the wall.”
All that is known is that the Celtics are in the playoffs.
They’ve played three times in this season’s playoffs and they’ve all advanced by winning.
They were 3-2 in the Eastern Conference finals against the Milwaukee Bucks, and won the next two games to reach the conference finals. There, the Miami Heat forced Game 7, and Boston won, 100-96.
It often seemed that the Celtics were making their way harder than they should have been, giving them the peace of mind when they were not playing vital games. They had a chance to finish the series against the Heat in six games at home, but couldn’t. They gave 47 points to Miami’s Jimmy Butler that night. The same convincing teams that have won have exploded, suggesting a lack of attention.
Their contempt has been shown by mistakes: Celtics have conceded 16.8 losses per game each time they lose in the playoffs and only 12.8 wins in the post-season. They left 18 bills on Monday night.
The attack has sometimes faded, but the defense has helped save it.
Before Game 5, Boston coach Ime Udoka said the Celtics would be 3-1 in the series if their attack had played better. Then they started the 5th game by failing in the first 12 3.
What has changed now is that Golden State seems to have decoded the Celtics. The physicality of Boston no longer frightens them. Turn off Stephen Curry? Golden State still won.
In most of the playoffs, each Boston team lost one game, regaining the next. Game 5 was the first time in a season that Celtics have lost twice in a row — due to a difference in aptitude and adaptability, with the young Boston team at the bottom end.
As the series progressed, Golden State became increasingly ready to address the Celtics ’weaknesses.
Celtics striker Al Horford said his team was “playing almost in their own hands, some of the things we want to do, which is to make conflicting midfield shots and probably play a little faster sometimes than we would like.” I feel that this is part of the reason why our attacks did not click properly.
In the 5th game, the Celtics also fell victim to frustrations with the job, which intensified their attacking struggles. The group complained and discussed most of the night.
“Probably something we didn’t have to do so much, and we all did too much,” Udoka said.
What is also unknown to the Celtics, who are facing relegation this time around, is the pressure that comes with this phase of the season.
After Boston took a 2-1 lead in the series, it seemed pointless to talk about Golden State’s advantage over the tournament experience. It seemed, at the time, that the Celtics had lost that game because they had lost focus, as they sometimes did. It seemed, at the time, that Boston was too big, too strong, too athletic, and too young for Golden State’s experience to make a big difference.
But now the series has reached a point that these Celtics have never seen before.
“We understand what we need to do,” Curry said. “It’s just a matter of getting out and running, trying to bottle up your emotions, knowing how hard the final game is.”
Boston seeks answers, Golden State smells of blood.
Klay Thompson said, “I’ve never felt so excited to go to Boston. I’ll tell you that.”