Had the Brandon Bass and the Boston Celtics closed out Game 4 of their series against the Philadelphia 76ers in similar fashion to the way they closed out Game 5, the Celtics would be getting some much needed rest before the Eastern Conference finals begins.
Instead, the series shifts to Philadelphia for Game 6 as the Celtics will look to close out the Sixers.
In Game 5, it was the guy not on the Boston Big Four marquee who made the difference as Bass erupted for a career playoff-high 27 points on Monday night, 18 of which came in the third quarter.
That combined with a big second half effort from the Celtics defense which forced numerous Sixers turnovers into easy baskets, helped erase a second half deficit and allowed Boston to cruise to victory.
For Philadelphia to stave off elimination, it all depends which Sixers team shows up for Game 6.
If it's the team that took care of the basketball and shot 54.8 percent in the first half then the Sixers have a chance to extend this series to a seventh game.
But if it's the Sixers team that looked rattled in the second half, with sloppy ball handling, shooting only 37.1 percent the final 24 minutes, then this series could come to an end Wednesday night in Philadelphia.
With that being said, here's everything you need to know about Game 6 of this Eastern Conference playoff series.
When: Wednesday, May 23 at 8:00 p.m. EDT
Where: Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Live Stream: ESPN3
Betting Line: Philadelphia (-2), via 5Dimes Sportsbook
Celtics Key Injuries (Per CBS Sports)
Questionable: Avery Bradley (shoulder)
Sixers Key Injuries (Per CBS Sports)
No injuries reported.
What They're Saying
ESPNBoston.com's Jackie MacMullan took a look at Game 5 hero Bass and while he had a big impact on the game, she looks at the man that made the success possible—point guard Rajon Rondo.
Indeed, Boston's newest playoff darling owes much of his newfound celebrity to his point guard. It was Rondo who spread the floor, controlled tempo and created high-percentage chances for Bass, whose 27 points included five dunks and 9-of-13 shooting. After taking just eight total free throws in the first four games against Philly, Bass went to the line 10 times Monday night and converted nine of them. His aggressiveness was a direct byproduct of Rondo's court vision.
Most Important Player to Watch: Elton Brand
When the Sixers are getting the ball down low, they are having success this series. In Game 5 alone they scored 18 buckets in the paint while having the lead. That number dipped to 11 field goals in the paint during the second half when Philadelphia wound up being blown out.
Brand made 8-of-13 attempts on the night while Lavoy Allen made all six of his attempts and center Spencer Hawes made 4-of-8. The rest of the team made only 18-of-50 (.360) on the night.
Brand has averaged only 7.6 points per game throughout the postseason (7.2 vs. Boston) and needs to be a big factor for the Sixers to extend the series.
Key Matchup: Rajon Rondo vs. Jrue Holiday and Louis Williams
Somehow the Sixers have to slow Rondo down and make it difficult for him to make plays, especially down the stretch of games.
Rondo had 14 assists in the Game 5 victory and has had at least 13 assists in every game this series, averaging 14.6 dimes to go along with 14.4 points against the Sixers. If the Philadelphia point guards don't find a way to bottle up Rondo, this series will be over.
In retrospect, the Sixers point guard duo has averaged only 8.2 assists combined throughout the series.
Celtics 85, Sixers 78