BOSTON – Despite their second-half collapse in Game 4 on Friday, the Boston Celtics are seemingly still in control of their Eastern Conference semifinals series with the Philadelphia 76ers, with Game 5 tonight (7 ET, TNT) and a possible Game 7 on their home floor.
The Celtics have won 17 of their last 19 games at TD Garden and are 34-9 there in the Big Three era. Only once in the last five years have the Celtics lost more than one home game in a playoff series. That was in 2009, when they lost Games 1 and 7 to the Magic.
Kevin Garnett missed that entire postseason. And as we’ve already seen in these playoffs, injuries can trump home-court advantage.
Right now, the Celtics’ biggest injury concern is not with any of their veterans. It’s with the youngest guy on their roster, Avery Bradley. The second-year defensive specialist has been dealing with a left shoulder issue most of the season, and it has already popped out twice in this series.
Bradley was not on the floor for Monday morning’s shootaround, and he’s listed as a game-time decision for Game 5.
The Celtics have Ray Allen and Mickael Pietrus to fill in at the wings, but Bradley has clearly been one of the Celtics’ most important players in this series. The Celtics have outscored Philly by 23 points per 100 possessions in his 95 minutes on the floor and have been outscored by 20 per 100 in his 97 minutes on the bench.
On player who might not mind Bradley’s absence is Evan Turner, who is shooting just 5-for-28 (18 percent) from oustide the restricted area with Bradley on the floor.
In Game 4 on Friday, Boston was a plus-12 with Bradley on the floor and a minus-21 with him on the bench. Allen, dealing with his own (ankle) injury, was ineffective offensively and was a minus-24.