With the series tied 2-2, Tuesday night Game 5 matchup against the Bucks is considered a must-win for the Celtics. While TD Garden has been good to the Celtics throughout the first two games of the postseason, Milwaukee made adjustments in Games 3 and 4 that drastically changed the series and will implement those changes Tuesday night to grab its first lead of the series.
Here are six keys that will secure a Game 5 win for the Celtics:
1. Setting the Tone
Heading into Game 3, the Bucks knew how important it was for them to deliver the first blow in the opening frame. Milwaukee believed it helped the Celtics immensely in Games 1 & 2 in Boston and wanted to set the same tone in Games 3 & 4.
It's made a big difference for both teams in this series and will be just as important in Game 5. In all four games of the series, the home team has not only won each contest but also led at the end of the first quarter by at least seven or more points.
2. Jabari Parker's Impact
In two offensively efficient performances in Games 3 & 4, Jabari Parker gave the Bucks the secondary scoring punch that they've badly needed in this series. Coach Prunty unleashed Parker for 25-plus minutes in Milwaukee and it paid dividends.
Parked netted 17 points on 7-of-12 attempts in Game 3, and followed that up with a 16-point performance Sunday. If the Bucks want to head home with a 3-2 lead, Milwaukee will absolutely need a similar performance from their back-up forward.
It's going to be Semi Ojeleye and Marcus Morris' job to slow down Parker in Game 5.
3. Clean Physicality
It's certainly been a chippy series, thus far. Physicality has been an underlining theme between these two, as both coach Prunty and Brad Stevens alluded to back in Milwaukee. It's given both teams a significant edge throughout the first four games of the best-of-7 series.
Thon Maker's defensive impact changed the complexion of the series in Milwaukee. His physical play along with five blocks earned him 31 minutes in Game 4. Aron Baynes, who turned in his best performance of the series Sunday, is a great example of that.
He was exceptional in contesting shots, setting tough screens and yanking down boards. He finished with nine points, 11 rebounds, and only two fouls in 19 minutes. But it was the gritty play that made all the difference.
Marcus Morris needs to follow suit. Without worrying about the officials, Morris has proved he can defend at a high level and Celtics need him to be focused on doing so while, of course, providing an offensive spark.
4. Al Horford's Impact
When Al Horford established a post presence in Game 1, it caused the Bucks fits. Horford not only finished 5-of-8 from the floor, but he knocked in 13-of-14 from the charity stripe. Stevens needs to utilize Horford's offense in the post more. With his ability to stretch beyond the arc, Horford should be taking no less than 15 attempts in Game 5. And if he's able to get more touches down low, he'll earn trips to the free-throw line more often while converting high-percentage shots.
Heading into the series, Horford was and still is the most important player for the Celtics and his play in Game 5 is crucial. With the series tied at two games apiece, this is the time for Horford to turn in another monster performance reminiscent of Game 1's double-double (24 points, 12 rebounds).
5. The Return of Scary Terry
Not-so-scary Terry needs to revert to his old ways in Game 5. The Celtics desperately need his scoring.
It was obvious the Celtics offense missed Rozier's shooting touch in Milwaukee, however, one positive takeaway from Game 4 was a lone turnover alongside eight assists. Rozier also drained a big 3-pointer down the stretch -- proof that the third-year guard is never discouraged from taking a big shot even in a game where he finished 3-of-12.
6. Marcus Smart is Back
This list was originally five keys, but the news of Marcus Smart returning to the floor for Game 5 stretched it out to six. During Tuesday's practice, Stevens told the media that Smart was cleared for contact and would see playing time in Game 5, barring any setbacks prior to tip-off.
Could Smart make all the difference Tuesday for the C's?
Watch the video below to see Causeway Street's Josue Pavon & The Journal Times' Gery Woelfel break down the keys to Game 5
Photos used is courtesy of Getty Images, Boston Herald