Referees: Scott Foster, Ron Garretson, Bill Spooner, (Zach Zarba, Alternate)
The Celtics are facing their first win or go home situation of the playoffs. We have seen them play well with their backs against the wall in the past and they have come up big when they had to. But does this team have enough left in the tank to pull off a historic come back in this series?
Only 8 teams in NBA history have come back from a 1-3 deficit. Two of those 8 teams wore Celtic green. Both of those teams, the 1968 Celtics and the 1981 Celtics came back from a 1-3 deficit to win the title that year. The 1968 Celtics had Bill Russell. The 1981 Celtics had Larry Bird. Can one of the current Celtics become part of Celtics lore to lead this team back from the brink of elimination to advance to the conference finals? Only time will tell.
The Celtics have several things going against them. The newness of Jeff Green (and 4 others) - The disappearing act of Glen Davis - The injuries to Rajon Rondo (elbow), Delonte West (shoulder), Jermaine O'Neal (back), Shaquille O'Neal (calf/age) and Ray Allen (chest) - the aging process that has slowed Pierce, Garnett and Allen - and the one sided officiating in each game so far. . We can only hope that the Celtics can find some way to bounce back and overcome all of these obstacles that stand in their way.
To win this game, the Celtics must defend the paint. Wade and James and to a lesser degree Bosh have been getting to the hoop at will. The Heat's 3 stars have been scoring the majority of the teams points and yet the Celtics can't seem to stop them. The Celtics must get back to their clamp down defense, which they played in the game 3 win, but not so much in the 3 losses. They also have to take better care of the ball. Careless passes and unforced turnovers have cost them big in this series. In the last game, the Celtics turned the ball over 15 times which the Heat turned into 25 points. The Celtics have allowed the Heat to beat them on the boards, and they must reverse this if they hope to come back and win this.
One thing we do know, this team has a lot of heart and pride. They are going to fight in this game and if the Heat want to win it, they are going to have to fight even harder. The odds are stacked against the Celtics but this team has beat the odds before and so don't be surprised if they do it again.
Be Aggressive - The Celtics were the more aggressive team in game 3. They were aggressive again in game 4 but the Heat were even more so. The Celtics must be the more aggressive team and take the ball to the hoop, dive for loose balls, chase down rebounds and be aggressive on defense. Usually the more aggressive team will get more calls from the refs but it hasn't worked that way for the Celtics. They have to play aggressively without expecting calls when they are fouled.