Every morning, we compile the links of the day and dump them here… highlighting the big story line. Because there’s nothing quite as satisfying as a good morning dump.
There wasn’t much relaxation Wednesday night during a wild Game 5, but the Celtics prevailed, 108-97, after a fourth quarter in which Jonas Jerebko threw down a monster dunk, Kelly Olynyk celebrated an enormous and-one by howling at the crowd, and Al Horford and Isaiah Thomas did all sorts of star things.
Before that, Avery Bradley was great, hitting a bundle of timely shots en route to a career playoff high of 24 points — all while hounding Jimmy Butler into what was, for him, a subpar outing. The Bulls got a throwback performance from Dwyane Wade (26 points, 11 rebounds, eight assists), but it didn’t matter because of Boston’s mighty fourth quarter, which actually began with a two-point deficit.
Horford (21 points, nine assists, seven rebounds) was brilliant. Thomas (24 points) was fiery and productive. Everybody else did his part. Most of the starters departed with 1:12 left to a whole lot of love.
As for his shaky shooting, on one hand Thomas was upset with his failure to connect. On the other hand, it was satisfying that his team could now survive his chill and win while shooting 43.2 percent to Chicago’s 50 percent.
“It is,” he said. “I remain confident in those guys. I know they’re really good shooters, and we’re not too worried about the shooting percentage, especially myself. I’ve been getting good, open looks. My teammates have been getting me open looks. We’ve just got to knock down the shots. Coach keeps saying, ‘One game soon we’re going to knock down all the open shots that we’re missing,’ and it might be next game. I’m happy about my teammates, how they played, and they picked up my slack.
“And one thing about playoff basketball, if your shot’s not falling, you’ve got to figure out a way to win, and (last night) we did that. We held our head on the defensive end, and it got us the win.”
All season long, Isaiah Thomas has been carrying this Celtics team on his shoulders. Last night, it was other guys’ turn. Bradley, Horford and Olynyk all had their best playoff performances in a Celtics uniform.
While IT, Horford and Jae Crowder were making just one field goal apiece in the first half, Avery kept the Celtics alive with 17 points. He finished with 24 while pestering Jimmy Butler into 6-15 shooting for just 14 points. Moreover, Bradley did it without fouling: Butler was 0-1 at the line after shooting 23 free throws in Game 4.
Horford bounced back from his slow first half with 19 second-half points. He also scored nine during the 13-0 burst that blew open the game in the fourth quarter. Al added a late dunk to bring his fourth-quarter tally to 11 points on perfect shooting (3-3 FGs, 5-5 FTs).
Olynyk led the bench with a playoff career-high of 14 points while being uncharacteristically fired up. The highlights: KO muscled in a driving and-1 bank shot, then flexed with Bradley like Hans and Franz; caused a Wade turnover, then ran down the court screaming “let’s goooooooo!”; and had a nose-to-nose stare-down with Anthony Morrow after absorbing what looked to be a routine foul.
One week ago, the Cs were down 0-2 and facing two desperation road games. The three games since have obviously not been easy, and the Celts still need to play much better to advance. But this group is sticking together and, as IT said, figuring out how to win in the postseason. There’s no reason they can’t go back to Chicago and come out with another win.
Other playoff links:
MassLive – Isaiah Thomas happy with Boston Celtics’ Game 5 despite his off night: ‘They picked up my slack’ | 2017 NBA Playoffs: Robin Lopez, Chicago Bulls big man, tosses up perhaps worst shot of the year (watch) | 2017 NBA Playoffs: Terry Rozier, Boston Celtics guard, throws down big dunk in transition (video) | Jimmy Butler admits he didn’t win matchup against Boston Celtics’ Avery Bradley in Game 5 | Al Horford proves worth to Boston Celtics again, thinks team is starting to understand playoff basketball
Herald – Buckley: Kelly Olynyk delivers for Celts in ‘biggest game’ of his career | Buckley: Rajon Rondo, champion Celtic, joins Boston villains club | Avery Bradley excels on offense and defense | Celtics’ anthem movement comes to standstill
ESPN Boston – Isaiah Thomas and the Celtics know how to rebound
CSNNE – Celtics Get Game 5 Win Despite An Off Night For Isaiah Thomas | Kelly Olynyk Says He Channeled His Inner Happy Gilmore (video) | Stars, Studs And Duds: Bradley Delivers Best Two-Way Performance Of Series | Did Celtics Pull Red Auerbach Prank On Bulls?
Boston.com – 3 thoughts on the Celtics’ Game 5 win over the Bulls
Celtics.com – Bradley’s 2-Way Play Powers C’s to Game 5 Win
On Page 2: Professor Brad
Wish this video had been 10 times longer.
And, finally: Vote for IT
He’s not going to win MVP, but perhaps this will happen: