Boston Celtics

The Celtics may be facing elimination in Game 6 against the Bucks. But there’s good news for Boston fans: the league wants them to win.

That’s just … speculation … of course … but it’s common sense to assume the NBA would rather have a Game 7 between the C’s and Bucks than not, especially in a series that’s been as competitive and entertaining as this one.

So they’re sending in their fixer. They’re sending The Wolf. That of course would be referee Scott Foster, who has been assigned to officiate Game 6.

Contrary to popular belief, teams facing eliminating aren’t unstoppable with Foster officiating. Foster has reffed only four closeout games so far in the 2022 NBA Playoffs, and the leading team in the series is 3-1 in those games. That includes the Celtics’ closeout win over the Nets in Game 4 of the first round. Overall, teams trailing in their series are a meh 4-3 so far in 2022 with Foster as the ref.

But it’s not like the NBA is completely rigged! Foster isn’t making series go on longer! What, you think this is deliberate by the NBA? Nooo. Will you stop?!

The important part is that Foster is there to do all he can to keep the trailing team alive. Again, just … opinions … but that’s sure how it looks, feels, and smells. Remember that in the Celtics’ win over the Nets to finish their sweep, Jayson Tatum fouled out for just the second time in his career with 2:49 left in regulation, then the C’s were whistled for three more fouls after that.

So, if the Bucks look like they’re about to finish off the series, Celtics fans can rest easy knowing Foster will insert himself in a desperate attempt to keep the series alive. That’s just the way it is in NBA playoff games. For one game, anyway, Boston will be a pro-Foster city.

But, as the recent results prove, the Celtics are still going to need to play their best basketball in order to force a Game 7 in Boston. Can’t just rely on the refs. Who can? But it’s at least comforting for C’s fans that the powers outside of Milwaukee want a Game 7. We’ll see if they make it happen.

PHOTOS: Celtics take on Bucks in Game 5 of 2022 playoff series

Matt Dolloff is a writer and podcaster for 985TheSportsHub.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Have a news tip, question, or comment for Matt? Yell at him on Twitter @mattdolloff and follow him on Instagram @realmattdolloff. You can also email him at mdolloff@985thesportshub.com.

More from 985TheSportsHub.com…

Celtics-Bucks: Start time announced for do-or-die Game 6

  • The Boston Celtics are on the brink of elimination, and now we know when they’ll have to take the court in a do-or-die situation.

    As announced by the NBA, the Celtics and Bucks have a scheduled tipoff time of 7:30 p.m. ET on Friday, May 13 in Game 6 at Fiserv Forum. It’ll air on TV on ESPN, and on the radio right here on 98.5 The Sports Hub. (Click here for the full on-air schedule.) We’ll have pregame coverage starting at 7 p.m. ET, and postgame coverage until 10, followed by instant reactions on the Adam Jones Show.

    The Bucks backed the Celtics up against the wall Wednesday night with a furious fourth-quarter comeback. Boston led by as many as 14 points in the final frame, and an Al Horford tip-dunk had the C’s up by six points with 2:12 left in regulation. Milwaukee then closed the game on an 11-2 run, as the Celtics’ Marcus Smart turned the ball over twice in that span.

    “I just think we didn’t do what we were supposed to do [in the closing minutes],” Smart told reporters after the game. “The mentality was there to go win the game, and it just fell short. Didn’t execute when we were supposed to, when it mattered most, and they did.”

    Overcoming Adversity

    May 11, 2022; Boston, Massachusetts, USA; Boston Celtics guard Marcus Smart (36) and guard Jaylen Brown (7) work for the ball against Milwaukee Bucks guard Jrue Holiday (21) and center Bobby Portis (9) in the second half during game five of the second round for the 2022 NBA playoffs at TD Garden. Credit: David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

    May 11, 2022; Boston, Massachusetts, USA; Boston Celtics guard Marcus Smart (36) and guard Jaylen Brown (7) work for the ball against Milwaukee Bucks guard Jrue Holiday (21) and center Bobby Portis (9) in the second half during game five of the second round for the 2022 NBA playoffs at TD Garden. Credit: David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

    The Celtics’ core stars have had an uncommon level of playoff experience in their young careers, so at this point, they’re no stranger to adversity. Going forward, it’s about how they respond. To win this series, they’re going to need their strongest response yet.

    That may have to come off the hands of Jaylen Brown, who responded emphatically to a Game 1 loss with a blistering first half in Game 2. Brown totaled 30 points in that game, and he and Jayson Tatum likely have to play their best basketball of the season to escape Milwaukee with their season alive.

    Winning a championship is never easy, especially if you have to knock off the defending champions, and the Celtics are learning that the hard way. How the next game (or two) defines their season will be up to them.

    “Good basketball teams respond to adversity and we’ve been doing it all season,” Brown told reporters after the game. “Next game presents a new challenge, the biggest challenge of the year, to be honest. Mentally, physically, emotionally, it puts a challenge on every component. So, we’ve gotta regroup and get our spirit to the point where we can go in and get a victory in Milwaukee.”

  • If Necessary…

    May 11, 2022; Boston, Massachusetts, USA; Boston Celtics center Al Horford (42) defends against Milwaukee Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo (34) in the second quarter during game five of the second round for the 2022 NBA playoffs at TD Garden. Credit: David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

    May 11, 2022; Boston, Massachusetts, USA; Boston Celtics center Al Horford (42) defends against Milwaukee Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo (34) in the second quarter during game five of the second round for the 2022 NBA playoffs at TD Garden. Credit: David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

    The Celtics now need to force a Game 7 on the road in order to keep their season alive. If they do win Game 6, they’ll have a date with the Bucks at TD Garden on Sunday, May 15 at 3:30 p.m. ET in a decisive Game 7. The schedule remains subject to change, though. We’ll keep you posted if the game is necessary and any updates take place.

  • Postgame Reactions

    Listen above for postgame reactions to the loss in Game 5, and Marcus Smart’s performance, from Adam Jones and Tim McKone on 98.5 The Sports Hub.

NEXT: Celtics head coach Ime Udoka joins Zolak & Bertrand