2018 NBA Playoffs

5 things to watch for in Game 5 of Celtics-Cavs

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Jim Davis/Getty Images

Breaking down five keys to a pivotal Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Finals on Wednesday night. 

1. Get the ball to Jayson Tatum more: With LeBron James primarily engaged against Jaylen Brown on the defensive end and Tristan Thompson doing a nice job of neutralizing Al Horford in the halfcourt, it’s time for the Celtics to turn to their rookie as the offensive focal point. The Cavs don’t have anyone to slow him down if James is occupied with Brown and they have been throwing two and three bodies at the 20-year-old periodically to try to throw him out of rhythm. Tatum needs to recognize when he’s getting that additional attention and look for his teammates when the Cavs are collapsing on him. Otherwise, this is a night where the Celtics need to keep feeding the guy who has the best chance of getting the Celtics a shot they want in the halfcourt. Whether it’s getting his man (J.R. Smith) into foul trouble or opening the door for easy looks for his teammates, Tatum’s usage rate (20.5 percent) ranks sixth on the team and that’s far too low in this series when you compare it to his efficiency. Whether it’s in the starting five or serving as a focal point of the offense with the bench unit (if Brad Stevens makes a switch), he needs to be a featured option in Game 5.

2. Make LeBron James think more: