Watch CBS News

History is not on Celtics' side after blowing Game 5 to Bucks

BOSTON (CBS) -- The Celtics let a golden opportunity slip away Wednesday night, blowing Game 5 to the Bucks on the TD Garden floor. Now they face the daunting task of having to win a Game 6 in Milwaukee on Friday night just to force a Game 7.

We'll spare you the gory details of Boston's Game 5 loss, because Celtics fans are grumpy enough after that crushing defeat. We all know what happened over the final two minutes of the game, and none of it was good for the Celtics.

The Celtics were already looking ahead to Game 6 following Wednesday night's disaster, and sounded confident that they can go into Milwaukee and win their second road game of this series. History, however, is not on Boston's side.

Teams that win Game 5 in a best-of-seven series that was tied 2-2 have gone on to win that set 82.2 percent of the time (183-39). Not great.

Getting a little more precise, there have been four instances in a best-of-seven series (2-2-1-1-1 format) where a team fell into a 3-2 hole by losing Games 1 and 5 at home and Game 3 on the road. Only one of those teams went on to win the series; the 2014 Indiana Pacers in their first-round matchup with the Atlanta Hawks.

The three others, including the 1988 Celtics, lost the series in six games.

The Celtics have squandered two potential wins away this series. Game 3 in Milwaukee came down to the final possession despite Jayson Tatum having one of the worst games of his career, and Game 5 slipped away with a disastrous final six minutes. Boston really just needed to make one more play to seal the win on Wednesday, and they let opportunity after opportunity go by the wayside in crunch time.

Now they face a must-win Friday night on the road. The Celtics know their backs are against the wall and believe they have what it takes to overcome the adversity in front of them. They've shown the ability to bounce back since they started their mid-season turnaround in January, and have lost two straight games just once since late January. We shouldn't rule out Boston winning Game 6, and then anything can happen in a Game 7 at TD Garden.

But the odds are greatly against the Celtics at the moment. That won't make anyone feel any better about what happened on Wednesday night.


View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.