Game 5 review: Issues the Celtics need to address

Published June 16, 2022, 8:15 AMRenee Ticzon

The Celtics’ backs are against the wall after falling to the Warriors in Game 5 of the NBA Finals.

Almost but not quite. The Boston Celtics gave a valiant effort but still fell short against the Golden State Warriors, 104-94, in Game 5 of the 2022 NBA Finals.

It was a game of adjustments for the Celtics – they had quite a slow start, going behind by as much as 16 points in the opening period.

Draymond Green stepped up big time after a disastrous Game 4 performance. Boston didn’t exactly anticipate the adjustment as Green ended with eight points, seven rebounds, six assists, and a plus/minus of +11 in the 35 minutes he played.

The Celtics made adjustments in the third, outsourcing the Warriors, 35-24 –even taking the lead momentarily behind a 19-4 run.

Celtics star duo Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown—both silent in the first half—spearheaded the blitz. Unfortunately, Boston could not sustain its momentum and eventually collapsed in the third.

On paper, the Celtics didn’t play to their full potential. They had 18 turnovers compared to the Warriors’ six. Despite getting more free throw opportunities, they only 21-of-31 as compared to the Warriors’ 13-of-15.

It wasn’t a good day for the Celtics but they did one thing right. They had an excellent defensive game plan on Steph Curry, who misfired all his attempts from the 3-point area. Marcus Smart hounded Curry all game long, denying the 3-point king touches.

However, in true Warriors’ fashion, someone stepped up in place of Curry. That guy? Andrew Wiggins.

Wiggins scored a playoff career-high half of 16 points after shooting 7-of-14 from the field. He ended with a double-double of 26 points and 13 rebounds. Klay Thompson also had a decent night, making 21 points on five made 3s.

So even if they successfully cut off Golden State’s main scorer, the Celtics couldn’t find an answer for Wiggins who helped contribute to the Warriors’ 50 points in the paint.

On offense, they could have been better. Tatum was extremely passive to start the game, with zero attempts in the first seven minutes. Brown also didn’t have a good night as he failed to drain any of his 3-pointers.

When both superstars aren’t playing well, Boston usually turns to its bench, but even they were absent, producing just 10 points. In losses, the Celtics score only 93 points and they average 118 in their wins.

The Celtics can’t afford to have a night like that anymore now that the Warriors are on the brink of winning another chip. They need to make a few more adjustments if they want to force a Game 7. 

Tatum and Brown need to get going early, Smart can’t get sucked into Green’s antics, and Boston’s bench needs to contribute more. The Celtics need to go back to what made them successful in these playoffs if they want to deny Golden State the title.