If the Boston Celtics want to keep their championship hopes alive and spoil the Golden State Warriors' chances of capturing their fourth title since 2015, they'll have no choice but to play a near mistake-free brand of offense while on the brink of heartbreak. In a pivotal Game 5 of the NBA Finals on Monday, self-inflicted blunders hampered the Celtics, as they committed a whopping 18 turnovers -- leading to 22 points -- in a 104-94 road loss at Chase Center.
Golden State has taken full advantage of Boston's carelessness. According to ESPN Stats, the Warriors' 103 points off of turnovers are the most by any team through the first five NBA Finals games since the 1992 Chicago Bulls. To make matters even worse, the Celtics have committed turnovers on 16.3-percent of their NBA Finals possessions, and are now 1-7 this postseason when allowing 16-plus turnovers. When below that mark, they're a dominant 13-2.
"When they get late in the game, offensively, there's a lot of standing around. It's a lot of Brown and Tatum dribbling and not really doing much," CBS Sports NBA writer Sam Quinn told the Reiter Than You show on Tuesday. "And making those very basic plays the Warriors can defend super easily. When the Celtics are playing at their best, they're playing fast and moving around, offensively. And then, late in games, they just totally stop.
"There's a reason that, coming into this series and throughout these playoffs, all of the analytic models were saying Boston was better. I think BPI had them at 86-percent before the series started. But, this team has such a capacity for nonsense. They have such a capacity to, out of nowhere, start giving the ball away, start playing sloppy and slow... And in the case of the Warriors, they've finally found an opponent that's capable of really punishing them for that."
Boston, which clinched the East's second seed with a 51-31 record, will host Golden State in Game 6 on Thursday at TD Garden, with tip-off scheduled for 9:00 ET. According to FiveThirtyEight's projections, the Celtics currently have a 38-percent chance to win their first title since 2008, and if they do hoist the Larry O'Brien trophy, it'd be their NBA-record 18th in franchise history.
The entire Finals conversation between Quinn and Reiter can be accessed in the audio player above.