The Boston Celtics won their third consecutive game over the Miami Heat last night, which gives them a 3-2 series lead heading back to Boston.
This came one night after the Thunder won their third consecutive game over the Spurs to take a 3-2 lead in their series.
Both the Celtics and Thunder won these games on the road, which gives them a huge advantage in their respective Game 6s.
The Thunder Roll
The Thunder’s comeback from being down 2-0 is less surprising than that of the Celtics. This is because the Thunder are expected, by many, to win their series, even though they are against a very experienced Spurs team.
In the first game of the series the Thunder only lost by three points. They followed this up with a nine-point loss, but had a combined 88 points from Durant, Westbrook and Harden. In a 120-111 loss, the Thunder were simply outscored by the Spurs, as every member of their Big Three all played a solid game.
When the series came to OKC, the Thunder easily erased any worries of a sweep with a 20-point win over the Spurs. They followed this up with a six-point win. What was special about this win was that the Thunder scored 109 points, but Westbrook and Harden combined for only eighteen points. Serge Ibaka and Kendrick Perkins made up for this by combining to score 41 points on a combined 18-20 shooting, which included a perfect 11-11 shooting performance from Ibaka.
Game 5 went back to San Antonio, where it was to be seen if the Spurs could keep the trend of the home team winning going. It was close throughout, but the Thunder were able to close it out and the end and take the 3-2 lead in the series.
Game 6 is tonight in OKC, and it is tough to pick against the Thunder on their home court. However, if any team is going to find the courage to pull out a season-saving win, it is the Spurs.
Balanced Boston Bounces Back
Before the playoffs began it was widely expected that the Heat and Bulls would play to decide which team would represent the East in the NBA Finals. A torn ACL to Derrick Rose altered that expectation, which allowed the Celtics to make their way to the Eastern Conference Finals.
After a grueling seven-game series against Philadelphia, many believed that the Celitcs would have nothing left and would lose in a short series to the Heat.
This appeared to be true in Game 1, but Game 2 was much different. The game was won in overtime by the Heat, but the most memorable component of this game was the performance of Rajon Rondo. He scored 44 points on 16-24 shooting, and he played in all 53 minutes of the game. His unbelievable performance proved that the Celtics had fight and would not go down easily to the Heat.
Boston followed OKC’s path and took both games at home to even the series at 2-2. Just as OKC did, Boston won the first game by double digits, and then followed it up with a close win.
The Heat simply do not have the firepower to win without Bosh in the lineup. LeBron James has been the leading scorer for his team throughout the entire series, but he is not capable of leading the Heat to victory even if Dwyane Wade adds twenty points a game. Bosh is needed to add to the scoring total, as there is no one else on the roster, outside of the Big Three, who can be relied on to help carry the load.
Bosh returned last night for Game 5, but he only played for 14 minutes, scoring nine points. Only LeBron and Wade scored in double digits, compared to five Celtics who reached double digits.
Boston closed out the game at the end thanks to a three from Paul Pierce with LeBron’s hand right in his face, along with two clutch free throws from Kevin Garnett, who led the Celtics with 26 points.
Game 6 is back in Boston, and a loss by the Heat may not only mean the end of their season, but possibly the end of the Big Three experiment in Miami.