Barkley makes bold Celtics prediction for Game 5 vs. Heat originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston
The Boston Celtics staved off elimination with an impressive Game 4 victory over the Miami Heat in the Eastern Conference Finals on Tuesday night.
With the series returning to Boston for Game 5 on Thursday night, one NBA legend thinks the Celtics' momentum will carry them to another win.
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TNT's Charles Barkley predicted the Celtics would not only beat the Heat in Game 5, but they'll do so in a "cakewalk."
"I think Game 5 is gonna be a cakewalk for the Celtics," Barkley said on TNT's "Inside the NBA" postgame show Tuesday night. "I think they're going to have so much energy. Not getting swept -- they don't get a cookie -- but now they go back home and that place is going to be loud and incredible. I think they're going to kill Miami next game, and they're going to come back down here (to Miami). I'm gonna tell you something else, Game 6 in Miami is going to be Game 7 for Miami."
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While it would be somewhat surprising if the Celtics earn a blowout win in Game 5 and Barkley's prediction comes true, four of Boston's five victories over Miami in the conference finals over the last two seasons have come by 10-plus points. In fact, the average margin of victory for the C's in those five conference finals wins over the Heat is 15.8 points.
Celtics Talk POSTGAME POD: Celtics stave off elimination with Game 4 win against the Heat | Listen & Subscribe
When the Celtics beat the Heat, it's typically a comfortable victory. Where the Celtics have struggled against the Heat in the playoffs is close games, and Boston's first two losses of this series are good examples of that.
The Heat are still in command of the series, and the fact that they've played so well in Boston over the last two postseasons should give them plenty of confidence entering Thursday night. But if the Heat lose Game 5, all of a sudden the conversation shifts to them potentially becoming the first team in NBA history to blow a 3-0 series lead. If there's a Game 6 in Miami, it'll be fascinating to watch how the Heat handle that kind of pressure.