In the 2016 NBA Playoffs, out of the 13 series that reached Game 5, 92.3 percent of the time, the team that won Game 5 went on to advance to the next round. The only exception was the Heat losing Game 5 on their home floor, but turning it around and taking Game 6 and 7 against the Hornets. There were seven series that were tied 2-2, and the winner of Game 5 won six of the seven, including the Cavaliers over the Raptors and the Thunder over the Spurs.
So far this season, every single Game 5 winner has moved on, as we saw the Raptors outlast the Bucks in six, the Celtics win four straight to defeat the Bulls, and four others during the First Round. Now, in the conference semifinals, while the Cavaliers and Warriors are sitting at home watching following their sweeps, we have a pair of Game 5’s on back-to-back nights.
The first saw the Spurs take on the Rockets in San Antonio. Kawhi Leonard dropped 22 points and grabbed 15 rebounds before going out with an ankle injury, but his teammates, namely Danny Green, picked up the slack in overtime to slip by the Rockets, 110-107. James Harden was dominant during regulation, going for 33 points and 10 assists, but he went scoreless and committed four turnovers in the extra period. And now the Spurs hold a 3-2 series lead, and according to the Washington Post, if the home team wins Game 5, they go on to win the series 91.8 percent of the time. San Antonio is in the driver’s seat, in part because of this incredible game-sealing block by Manu Ginobili.
— FOX Sports Radio (@FoxSportsRadio) May 10, 2017
The second Game 5 is tonight, as the Celtics and Wizards will go head-to-head in Boston, as each team has protected home court in each of the four previous games. “I’m treating it as a must-win,” Isaiah Thomas, who is averaging 28.9 points per game, told ESPN. “I’m treating it as the biggest game that I’ve ever played. Hopefully, everybody else is treating it like that.”
John Wall, who is averaging 23.1 points and 10.7 assists per game, told the Washington Post that Game 5 is important for both teams, but more so for the Celtics because they’re going back home and are expected to win. However, if the Wizards want to grab the pivotal Game 5, Wall must continue to make plays like this.
— NBA (@NBA) May 7, 2017
No matter who comes out on top after the final buzzer in TD Garden tonight, they will have the upper-hand heading back to the nation’s capital for Game 6. I’m taking Thomas and the Celtics to come out aggressive and get by the Wizards in a tight one, similar to the Rockets vs. Spurs thriller.
Photo Credit: NBA.com.