Boston Celtics v Cleveland Cavaliers

Game 5 preview: Can Celtics continue home dominance in pivotal game vs. Cavs?

lebron-semi-ojeleye-052318-ftr
Celtics forward Semi Ojeleye guards Cavs forward LeBron James (Getty Images)

No. 2 Celtics vs. No. 4 Cavs - Series tied 2-2

After the Cavs won Games 3 and 4 at home to tie things at 2-2, the series shifts back to Boston for a pivotal Game 5.

The Celtics, who are 9-0 at home this postseason, look to continue their dominance at TD Garden to regain control of the series. Boston's last postseason loss at home came at the hands of the Cavs in last year's Eastern Conference finals.

In Game 4, a slow first quarter set the Celtics back; they were 7-of-26 from the field in the first frame and were outscored 34-18 by Cleveland. Boston outscored the Cavs 84-67 in the final three quarters, but the 16-point deficit proved to be too much to overcome.

Foul trouble contributed to the Celtics' struggles - Marcus Smart, Jaylen Brown and Marcus Morris each finished with five fouls in Game 4. As Boston continues to look to minimize LeBron James' impact on the offensive end, these three will be crucial in their attempts to slow him down. In Game 5, the trio will need to avoid early fouls to remain involved in key moments.

Offensively, Brown led the way with 25 points in Game 4, while rookie Jayson Tatum added 17 points, Terry Rozier contributed 16 points and 11 assists and Al Horford finished with 15 points (on 5-of-13 shooting) and seven rebounds. Horford was much more involved than he was in Game 3, but he will need to be more efficient in Game 5.

Boston has proven to be a completely different team at home - Game 5 could come down to its ability to feed off of the home crowd and outwork the Cavs.

As the lower seed, Cleveland must secure a road win in order to advance to the NBA Finals. It's been a mixed bag - the Cavs are 3-4 on the road in the postseason thus far.

In Games 3 and 4, getting off to big starts was a major key for Cleveland, as it outscored the Celtics 66-35 in the first quarters. In order to try and minimize the impact of Boston's home crowd in Game 5, it is imperative that the Cavs get off to a solid start once again.

LeBron led the way for Cleveland in Game 4, scoring 44 points on 17-of-28 shooting from the field. Kyle Korver (14 points), George Hill (13 points), Tristan Thompson (13 points, 12 rebounds), JR Smith (nine points, 3-of-6 3-point shooting) and Larry Nance Jr. (seven points) each played a big role in the Cavaliers' big offensive night. Outside of James and Kevin Love, who had an underwhelming Game 4 (nine points, 3-of-12 shooting), Cleveland struggled offensively in Boston.

The Cavs, who committed 19 turnovers in Game 4, must take much better care of the ball in Game 5. Boston's transition offense can fuel its crowd and open things up for the young team. Cleveland must also continue to move the ball; after 13 first-half assists, the Cavs only assisted on two second-half field goals.

James will lead the way, and Love should bounce back from Game 4, but Cleveland will need the contributions of its supporting cast to escape TD Garden with a win.

The views on this page do not necessarily reflect the views of the NBA or its clubs.

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