Boston Celtics' Game 4 win over Cavs without Donovan Mitchell not a championship performance: B/R

Boston Celtics v Cleveland Cavaliers - Game Four
Boston Celtics v Cleveland Cavaliers - Game Four / Nick Cammett/GettyImages

Bleacher Report's Scott Polacek doesn't believe the Boston Celtics played like a championship team in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals against the Cleveland Cavaliers at the Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse on May 13; a game Donovan Mitchell sat out due to a left calf strain.

"It may not be entirely fair, but the Boston Celtics are going to be graded on a championship-or-bust curve throughout the postseason, especially against Eastern Conference competition," Polacek prefaced before saying, "And Monday was not a championship effort."

Such accusations don't apply to Jayson Tatum (33 points, 11 rebounds, five assists), Jaylen Brown (27 points, eight rebounds), and Jrue Holiday (16 points, seven rebounds, five assists, three steals). Holiday has come on strong in Games 3 and 4, helping wear out Mitchell by making him run to keep up with him and Derrick White in Game 3. The timing has been perfect since White and Al Horford -- who hasn't hit a three-pointer since Game 2 -- have seen their production fall off on the road.

Luckily, though, Game 5 serves as a perfect chance to flip the narrative and put all struggles in the rearview mirror.

Boston Celtics can build momentum ahead of Eastern Conference Finals with dominant Game 5

With Mitchell absent, a 2016-esque Cavaliers comeback doesn't feel likely. While Evan Mobley has been a rock in Cleveland's frontcourt, Darius Garland came on strong in Game 4 with a 30-point showing, and Caris LeVert continues to prove that he can be the team's starting 2 in the event Mitchell asks out this summer, there isn't enough depth and play-making to make this interesting.

Boston is in the driver's seat and can build serious momentum with Game 5 taking place at the TD Garden. The Indiana Pacers and New York Knicks, even a NY team missing four of their eight best players, possess more firepower than the Cavs and will push the Celtics more. With the Cs struggling with their fourth quarter offense, still relying too much on isolation plays even if their Game 4 advanced stats looked good, it'd be a good way to get the ball rolling so that they can run out to big leads early on in games like they have all season.

At some point, Joe Mazzulla will have to face the music and come up with a gameplan late in games to avoid the ball sticking to certain players in hero-ball sets. But if he can put that off until the Finals, or better yet, never face it because his team is head and shoulders above their opponents during the first three quarters, well, Banner 18 is well within reach.