What do the Celtics need to do to win Game 5?

After a late 107-97 loss in Game 4 of the NBA Finals on Friday, the Boston Celtics return to San Francisco Monday night for another matchup against the Golden State Warriors. The series is tied 2-2 and the Celtics need to regain some momentum to bring the championship to Boston for the first time since the 2007-08 season. GBH news reporter Esteban Bustillos joined hosts Paris Alston and Jeremy Siegel on GBHs morning edition to discuss what the Celtics need to do to make that happen. This transcript has been edited for clarity and length.

Paris Alston: This is GBH’s morning edition. Well, the Celtics and Warriors are tied in the NBA Finals by two games each. It’s a good series, but a bit stressful to watch. Friday night’s game was a thrill at the end. As the team returns to San Francisco for Game 5 tonight, let’s take a minute to chat with GBH’s Esteban Bustillos, who has followed the Cs in all playoffs. Good morning Esteban.

Stephen Bustillos: Good morning Paris. Good morning Jeremy.

Jeremy Siegel: This binds the series. It’s a little disappointing that the Celtics gave away the advantage while they were here. You can hear the sound of Warriors fans here singing at the Warriors in the Garden on Friday.

Alston: In their home square.

Seal: Brave souls there. The good news at this point is that the Cs haven’t suffered a back-to-back loss in the playoffs. The bad news, of course, is that the series is now a tie. What happened in that last game?

Bust: Stephen Curry?

Alston: “With the shot.” I can just hear the Drake line ringing.

Bust: You know, he had 43 points, 10 assists. It was an amazing classical performance for him. I think next to him maybe one of the things that stood out the most in the last five minutes is that the Celtics had three points. Golden State had 17. It’s hard to win a basketball game when that happens. And as for Steph Curry, everyone knows who he is. He had an incredible streak. And it’s hard to beat him and even Jaylen Brown, and you can hear him talk about how – it’s almost easy, but he’s just very, very, very good.

[previously recorded]

Jaylen Brown: Yes, Steph Curry is really good, in case you haven’t noticed, yes, he can shoot the ball incredibly well. You know, even watching it, playing against him and even in the finals, I feel like he’s doing a little bit better. He had a damn good performance in Game 4 and we have to respond to that. We have to do more of a better job.

[recording ends]

Alston: Short message: Steph Curry is really good.

Seal: I love how blunt he is there.


“The Celtics had three points in the last five minutes. Golden State had 17. It’s hard to win a basketball game when that happens.”

– ESTEBAN BUSTILLOS, GBH REPORTER

Alston: Esteban, I watched the game on Friday and I was so stressed out for the last five minutes. Because they had the lead, they had the game, and then it kind of fell apart. So if you had to pick one word about the team’s performance against the Warriors so far, what would it be?

Bust: A word? Maybe “inconsistent” because they’re great in Game 1. Game 2, they fight. Game 3, great again, Game 4 – three points in the last five minutes. But that’s just the nature of the finale. It’s hard to win. It’s tough to win, especially against a team like Golden State that’s as talented as they are. If winning was easy, everyone would be a champion. But that’s the way it is.

Seal: The last time the Cs had a win I was decked out in Cs gear at our studio. I’ve got my Celtics hat here that I’m going to wear today. The last time I wore this, Esteban, you tweeted a picture of me next to Lucky the Leprechaun.

Alston: your doppelganger.

Seal: I have to say the resemblance is really uncanny.

Alston: And as Esteban pointed out, we didn’t see the two of you in the same room.

Seal: This is my second job. I do this to make sure the Cs win. What did the Cs have to do to get the W tonight?

Bust: I think one of the other things that was pointed out was that they were overtaken by the Warriors. This is just a big thing. They have to secure more rebounds, they have to keep playing physically. In terms of scoring, that was just an issue. Coach Ime Udoka even spoke about it in his press conference yesterday – the Warriors have more or less about the same number of points in every game. If the Celtics win, they’re going to score really high. But if they lose, they score about 100 points.

So I think if the Celtics figure out what they’re going to do to score on the offensive side of the ball, they’re going to be fine. But again, it’s easier said than done. And even yesterday you can hear Jayson Tatum, you know, he was talking about it, even with the fights that they’ve had, they’ve been here before. So I think he sounds pretty confident about their chances going forward.

[previously recorded]

Jayson Tatum: You know, we’ve been here for the third time in a row. I have a feeling we were here. So we know what matters. We know what we have to do and pay attention to details and things like that. And I’m confident, like I was in the playoffs, confident that we’re going to react and play better for most of the game.

[recording ends]

Alston: How confident are you, Esteban, that this will happen? I mean like you said we’ve been here before and they usually go to game 7 and pull through. I don’t think we can fully predict that, but that’s wishful thinking on my part.

Bust: It’s interesting. Neither team has lost the entire playoffs in a row. Following this pattern, that would mean the Celtics would win. But if you also follow this pattern, you would lose Game 6. And then we go back to game 7. As you said, you can’t really predict it. I would expect them to get at least one more win. I don’t think they’ll be swept, either tonight or in Game 6 at TD Garden. But again, we’ll have to see. On Friday night they had the chance to take a 3-1 lead. They couldn’t pull it off. And now the job is much harder. But again, that’s the nature of the finale. It’s not easy to win.

Seal: You covered those games at home, you obviously weren’t in the Bay Area. But you know, if you think about it, they watched finals there in San Francisco. But we haven’t seen that here in the garden for a long time. What difference is it for the teams to be in these two different places, especially considering how important a win could be tonight?

Bust: I find it interesting. Home advantage was weird because the Celtics won more away than they did at home. So if they can get another win down the road – and they need to get another win to win the series – they’ll do well. And they seem comfortable there, maybe even more so than here at TD Garden.

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