Game 5 of the NBA’s Eastern Conference Finals tips off today at 8:30 Eastern time and by the time the game wraps up, one team will have the momentum and the other team will be on the verge of elimination. Yes, the stats bear this out; every team that won game 5 also won game 6, the team that won game 5 also won game 7 seven times.
While the Celtics are still nursing injuries to some core players (namely Ray Allen) their level of play has increased as the series progresses.
“We’ve got to win a game in Miami, of course,” Celtics Forward Paul Pierce said after Game 4. “We have a chance of winning this series. It’s not going to be easy. You know, a good old classic bar fight. Going in to it you got to expect every game to be like this. Coming down to the wire, both teams trying to find an edge.”
For the Miami Heat, the possible return of Chris Bosh could go one of two ways; either Bosh comes in and contributes immediately or Miami will be out of sync trying to work him back into the lineup. Either way, the centers used in his absence have not been able to stop Kevin Garnett from imposing his will on the Heat. To stress the importance of Bosh to his team, since Bosh arrived in Miami, the Heat have won 72% of their games with him and 52% without him.
“We couldn’t win without him for two years. And not only could we not win without him, we looked horrible without him,” Heat Coach Eric Spoelstra said. “So I think that was the bigger challenge. If and when we ever get to that point, we’ll gladly take that challenge. He was our most important player for a long period of time.” On the return of Chris Bosh
Game 5 will be played tonight in Miami at American Airlines Arena