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It's win or go home time as the Celtics host the Cavaliers in Game 5

The Celtics look to give their fans a better showing than they did in Game 2 as the series shifts back to the TD Garden for Game 5.

David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

at
Cleveland Cavaliers (3-1) at Boston Celtics (1-3)
Thursday, May, 25, 2017
8:30 PM ET
Eastern Conference Finals Game #5
Playoff Game #18, Home Game #10
TV: TNT
Radio: 98.5 Sports Hub, WTAM 1100
TD Garden
Referees: Ken Mauer, Kane Fitzgerald, Ed Malloy

The series shifts back to the TD Garden with the Celtics down 3 games to 1. The Celtics were blown out in Games 1 and 2 in Boston and the games weren't even competitive. But the Celtics proved that they could compete with the Cavs in Games 3 and 4 in Cleveland. It would be great for the Celtics to reward the Celtics' faithful with a win on their home court in this one.

There are a few injury concerns as the Celtics head into this game. Jae Crowder has a groin strain that he suffered in Game 4 and is probable for this game. Amir Johnson left Game 3 with a shoulder strain and did not play in game 4 but is listed as probable for this game. Jaylen Brown has a hip pointer and is listed as questionable for this game. Isaiah Thomas is out with a hip injury.

In Game 4, Kyrie Irving went down with an ankle twist. He looked to be in pain but then got up and finished the game with a vengeance, doing whatever he wanted on the court. Kevin Love also was moving gingerly after a play late in the game and there was speculation that it might be a back injury acting up. There have been no reports from the Cavs on either player so both will more than likely play with no lingering effects.

Kelly Olynyk started Game 4 in place of Amir Johnson and the Celtics got off to a very good start. He played well and so more than likely Brad Stevens will start him once again in this game. Although, he may decide to try yet another change to the starting lineup. The decision will likely come closer to game time.



Probable Starters

PG: Marcus Smart ........................................ SG: Avery Bradley


C: Al Horford


SF: Jae Crowder ............................................ PF: Kelly Olynyk

Celtics Reserves
Demetrius Jackson
Jordan Mickey
Terry Rozier
James Young
Tyler Zeller
Kelly Olynyk
Jonas Jerebko
Gerald Green

Injuries
Isaiah Thomas (hip) out
Amir Johnson (shoulder strain) probable
Jae Crowder (groin strain) probable
Jaylen Brown (hip pointer) questionable

Head Coach
Brad Stevens


Probable Starters

PG: Kyrie Irving ................ SG: JR Smith


C: Tristan Thompson


SF: LeBron James................. PF: Kevin Love

Cavs Reserves
Kay Felder
Channing Frye
Richard Jefferson
Dahntay Jones
James Jones
Kyle Korver
Iman Shumpert
Derrick Williams
Deron Williams

Injuries
Edy Tavares (hand) out

Head Coach
Tyronn Lue

Key Matchups
vs
Jae Crowder vs LeBron James
LeBron had a very unLebron-like game in Game 3, scoring just 11 points and 6 turnovers. He started off slowly in Game 4 as well and was called for 4 fouls in the first half. However, he came on strong in the second half and will likely come out strong in Game 5 wanting to end the series. It would be nice if the Celtics can keep him off his game once again but that may be too much to ask for. Jae will need to work extra hard to slow him down.

vs
Marcus Smart vs Kyrie Irving
Marcus was huge in Game 3, hitting 7 of 10 three pointers for 27 points. His defense also helped the Celtics to lock down the Cavs in the second half as the Celtics came back from a 21 point deficit. Marcus came back to earth in Game 4 while Kyrie had a career night, almost single handedly willing the Cavs to the win with 42 points. The Celtics will need Marcus to defend Kyrie better and they will also need him to hit his shots once again.

Honorable Mention
Kelly Olynyk vs Kevin Love
Kelly Olynyk will more than likely get the start once again and will need to defend Kevin Love. He was everywhere in Game 4 with 17 points, 17 rebounds, 5 assists and 2 blocks. Kelly will especially need to keep him out of the paint and off the boards. He also needs to keep Love from getting open beyond the arc.

Keys to the Game
Defense Defense Defense!! Defense is key to winning every game. The Celtics must concentrate on getting stops and keeping the Cavaliers from scoring at will. It was tough defense that allowed the Celtics to come back from down 21 to win Game 3. They also played very good defense in the first half of game 4 but they let their defense slip in the second half and allowed the Cavs to shoot 71%. They have to lock down on defense and keep it up for 48 minutes.

Rebound - The Celtics must crash the boards as a team to prevent the Cavs from getting second chance and fast break points. They also need to rebound to give themselves extra possessions and to fuel their running game. The Celtics did a better job of crashing the boards and getting second chance points in the second half of Game 3. The Cavs have been winning the rebounding battle and the Celtics must crash the boards as a team and work hard to beat the Cavs to rebounds if they want to get a win.

Be Aggressive - The Celtics must be the more aggressive team. They have to beat the Cavs to every loose ball and win the 50/50 plays. They have to be aggressive on the boards and in driving into the paint and to the basket. They have to be the team that works harder and the team that wants it more. The Celtics found their heart in Game 3 and played harder in the second half and they played harder than the Cavs in the first half of Game 4. They must play harder and be more aggressive for the entire game because the Cavs certainly will be playing hard.

Hit Shots - This seems simple, but in the losses, the Celtics hit a low percentage of their shots. The Celtics have to concentrate and they have to focus on taking good shots and they have to hit those shots. The Celtics shot 45 percent from deep in Game 3, compared to 32.3 percent in Game 4 and that is the difference between a win and a loss.

X-Factors
Home Court - The Celtics will be playing at home and that has to give them a boost to have the crowd behind them. The Celtics have one of the best home crowds in the league. The Celtics have to take advantage of being at home and the crowd needs to be loud and give their team energy once again. It would be great to remove the memory of that last 41 point loss at home with a win in Game 5 to extend the series one more game.

Officiating - As always, the officiating is an x-factor. Every crew officiates differently and teams never know what to expect. Sometimes they let them play and other times they call a foul on every possession. Some games they call evenly and others they favor one team or the other. It's like Forrest Gump's box of chocolate... you never know what you are going to get. In most games against the Cavs, the Cavs seem to get the benefit of way too many calls. The Celtics must play through it and not let the officials take them out of the game if that happens. They were able to overcome a 12-36 free throw deficit in Game 3 to get the win and if they stay focused, they can win no matter the officiating.

Official Report
Ken Mauer is a referee that can be cringeworthy at times. Mauer is very quick to call technicals and in one game, once ejected Doc Rivers less than 3 minutes into a game, and that was before the "Respect the Game" rules were instituted. In one Timberwolves game he might have set the record by calling 5 technicals in a 10 second span. The Celtics have to be on their best behavior with Mauer calling the game. He was one of the refs in the controversial Miami/Dallas Finals where the foul calls were totally lopsided, giving the Heat the title. Mauer called Game 6 vs the Wizards. Celtics are 7-3 in their last 10 with Mauer while the Cavs are 6-4 in their last 10. His home W/L record is 40-31.

Kane Fitzgerald is another ref who is quick to give technicals. As with most refs he has been good in some games and bad in others. He called Game 1 vs the Bulls. The Celtics are 5-5 in their last 10 games with Fitzgerald while Cleveland is 7-3 in their last 10. His home W/L record is 44-30.

Ed Malloy called Game 5 in both the Wizards and Bulls series. Malloy is very quick to call technicals and in the past has ejected Doc Rivers, Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett for 2 quick techicals, all 3 of which had one or both rescinded by the league afterwards. He has called games in the past that were lopsided against the Celtics as well as some that were lopsided in favor of the Celtics so you never know which Malloy will show up. The Celtics are 7-3 in their last 10 with Malloy and the Cavs are 6-4 in their last 10. His home W/L record is 42-24.

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