The Atlanta Hawks don't have to win Game 5 in order to move on to the next round of the 2016 NBA Playoffs, but they certainly should plan to do so. Mike Budenholzer's team dropped both contests in Boston in highly frustrating fashion, and even as there were some positives to take away from Games 3 and 4, this is a results-driven business.
In short, Game 5 is a virtual must-win.
No one wants any part of a 3-2 deficit as the series shifts back to Boston, and Hawks fans have taken solace in the fact that no home team has lost in this series. That, of course, is a "win" for the team that has more home games (Atlanta), but if shots do not fall and the Hawks do not get positive point guard play, it probably won't matter which venue the game is occurring in on Tuesday.
Paul Millsap was the standout of Game 4 and this series remains a good match-up for the All-Star power forward from a personnel perspective. However, the Hawks failed to take full advantage of that performance and, well, no one should expect that from Millsap again. As a result, the supporting cast must step up to produce offensively (highlighted by the perimeter players) and, hopefully from a Hawks perspective, some members of the Celtics (ahem, Marcus Smart) will cool off from long distance in the process.
Each and every game has been endlessly scrutinized to the point of exhaustion in this series, and it will continue to be that way as some series on the periphery fade away and more folks realize that this is the most entertaining of the first round. Still, the Hawks could do serious damage to Boston's hopes of moving on with even a "pretty good" performance in their home building, and a lights-out showing would virtually ensure a victory.
Put the coffee on, stay up late, and let's do this together.
Game Date/Time: Tuesday, April 26, 8:30 p.m. ET
Location: Philips Arena, Atlanta, Georgia
TV: TNT, Fox Sports Southeast
Radio: 92.9 "The Game" FM