The Boston Celtics face a tough situation at home on Thursday night in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Finals.
Taking on the Cleveland Cavaliers and facing elimination, down 3-1 in the best-of-seven series, the Celtics will have to try to hold off LeBron James and company without the services of star point guard Isaiah Thomas, who is out for the remainder of the playoffs with a hip injury.
So, while it appears that the Celtics' 2017 postseason run may be drawing to a close, it's been a great year for the team that finished with the best record in the Eastern Conference.
With a young core of players and the No. 1 pick in this June's NBA Draft, the Celtics are set up to be a dominant force in the league for several years.
But, this year's playoff run, which will likely ultimately be only a building block on the road to greatness, should be appreciated nonetheless. Here are the best five moments from Boston's playoff campaign so far.
1. Game 7 win over the Wizards
In the regular season the home team won every single game between the Celtics and Wizards. Through six games of the Eastern Conference semifinals, that trend held true.
So, when the series went back to Boston for a decisive Game 7, the pressure was on Isaiah Thomas and the Celtics to defend their home court.
Though Bradley Beal torched the Celtics for 38 points, Isaiah Thomas had 29 points and 12 assists, while Kelly Olynyk scored an incredible 26 points off the bench as Boston eliminated one of its biggest rivals from the postseason.
2. Avery Bradley's game-winning shot
Without Thomas in the lineup for Game 3 in Cleveland, no one gave the Celtics much of a chance to win. However, that's exactly what Boston did, coming up with an impressive 111-108 victory.
The play of the game was the winning shot by Avery Bradley just before the buzzer. He hit it coming around a screen off a perfect pass from Marcus Smart:
What made the shot even better for the Celtics was that it bounced on the rim so much that the Cavaliers were left with only .1 seconds left on the clock, making it impossible for them to get a game-winning shot attempt off.
3. Isaiah Thomas's career-high point total
Playing on what would have been his sister Chyna's 23rd birthday, Thomas, who had a heavy heart after attending her funeral, took solace on the court in Boston, leading the Celtics to a 129-119 Game 2 victory.
In the game, he scored a career-high 53 points, with an incredible 29 of those points coming in the fourth quarter and overtime, as you can see in the video below.
The Celtics would go on to win the series in seven games, but Thomas's Game 2 heroics were what gave Boston a chance to even reach a pivotal Game 7.
4. Finishing off the Bulls in Chicago
Though winning at home is nice, there's something satisfying about going into an opposing arena and ending the home squad's season.
After falling behind 2-0 in the first round of the playoffs, that's exactly what the Celtics were able to do in Game 6 in Chicago.
Behind 23 points from Avery Bradley, the Celtics sucked the life out of the United Center, leading 54-41 at halftime and cruising to an easy 105-83 victory to eliminate Chicago from postseason contention.
5. Holding LeBron to only 11 points
As sweet as Avery Bradley's Game 3 winner was (see above), it was only possible because LeBron James wasn't his usual dominant self.
James scored only 11 points (zero in the fourth quarter) in one of the worst postseason efforts of his entire storied career.
Though Richard Jefferson said that LeBron was sick during Games 3 and 4, people started questioning whether James was trying to throw Game 3 with his awful performance.
That's high praise for the Celtics' defenders, who did their best with a less-than-100-percent James to hold on for a victory.News Now - Sport News