few takeaways as Warriors push Celtics to the brink with Game 5 win

The Celtics lost their second game in a row for the first time in the playoffs.

Throughout the playoffs, the Celtics have absorbed blows. They overcame injuries. They lost games. They walked to the brink and stared over the edge into the offseason, and each time, they managed to step back away and continue.

In Monday’s Game 5, the Warriors hit the Celtics with a haymaker. For the first time in the playoffs, an opponent landed back-to-back hits against the Celtics — they were 7-0 after a loss prior. 

Steph Curry didn’t shoot well. The Celtics roared back from a 16-point deficit and took the lead in the third quarter. And still, the Warriors won by double digits, once again sending both teams’ starters to the bench in the closing minutes.

The Celtics aren’t finished. They have earned the benefit of the doubt with their resilience over the last few months.

They have been the better team every series — including this one — when they don’t turn the ball over, and they finished with 18 on Monday.

But Game 5 did feel a bit different as the Celtics fell apart. An exhausted Jayson Tatum flung up airballs in the fourth quarter. Jaylen Brown looked bottled up at the worst possible time.

If the Celtics force a Game 7, it will require an unprecedented force of will.

“We know what we need to do,” Robert Williams said. “We know what we’ve been messing up on. Like you said, we’ve been here before. Got the most confidence in everybody in that locker room.”

2. Andrew Wiggins put together a phenomenal performance with 26 points and 13 rebounds on 13-for-23 shooting. His biggest basket of the game may have been his last one — an exclamation-point dunk that pushed the Warriors’ lead to 15 with two minutes remaining.

Steph Curry is, of course, the MVP if the Warriors win the series. Andrew Wiggins, however, has been perhaps the Warriors’ second-best player.