Yes, you read that right. When game five of the Eastern Conference Semi-Finals tips off at 8pm in Boston, the pressure is on the Celtics to end it tonight at home rather than come back to Philly for a game six on Friday.
The Sixers, who have been Vegas favorites in every game this series, have nothing to lose. They aren’t the higher seed, and they aren’t trying to get back to the Eastern Conference Finals. For Boston, every bounce that doesn’t go their way, every game they lose after going up 3-0 in the series, the noose just gets tighter.
Yes, it’s very true that nobody in NBA history has come back down 3-0 in a series, and that’s exactly why Brett Brown an company can play loose and relaxed. There’s always the first time. No Wild Card team had ever won a Super Bowl until 1981 when Oakland upset Philadelphia. The 2004 Red Sox erased a 3-0 deficit in the ALCS against the Yankees on their way to their first World Series in 90 years. Ask the 1984 Cubs about going up 2-0 in a best of five only to be the first team to squander that to the Padres.
The Sixers now have to play each game like a one game season. If they can win tonight and hold court Friday then it’s one game or go home for both teams in Game Seven, and at that point anything can happen. Just like a Sunday in early February in Minnesota.