It’s a fair assumption that Boston will advance. They may be a weak No. 1 seed propped up by an overachieving regular season, but they still should beat any No. 8 seed that heads their way. They won twice in Chicago already this season, and now they head into Game 6 looking to close out the series.

Washington and Atlanta are also playing a first-round series, though, with the Wizards up three games to two on the Hawks. They’re the higher seed and should also be expected to win this series, especially with the one-game lead they retain now. It’s still hypothetical, but let’s imagine the Wizards going up against the Celtics.

You can start Thomas on John Wall, who can just roast him in isolation, or Cheap Softball Jerseys For Girls on Bradley Beal, who can do the same and shoot over him. Any pick-and-roll action that Wall tries to run will be trapped heavily, but Washington is a better shooting team than Chicago. Those are the immediate concerns that come to mind when you wonder how the Celtics will hide Thomas, who is so incredibly valuable on the other end that you need him playing damn near 40 minutes each night.

In the regular season, Boston survived this with the same, harried, switching defense that we’ve seen so far, but will that work in a seven-game playoff series?

It might, but only if Thomas is able to prove he’s not the worst defender in the league.

But given the choice of recovering, or slouching into yet another first round exit, the option was clear. Boston did that by turning back into the team we came to see all regular season. Regardless of what the future holds, it was a welcomed return.

Winning Game 5 (and potentially this series on Friday) doesn’t tell us anything. No. 1 seeds, no matter how “fake” they are, are supposed to win in the first round. But winning is damn sure better than the alternative.