That Celts are disappointed to be down 3-2 in the NBA Finals, but they overcame the same situation in their second-round streak with the Bucks, writes ESPN’s Zach Lowe. The players met that deficit with surprising aplomb after losing a 14-point lead in the fourth quarter of a home loss in Game 5, Lowe said, and they were able to regain control of the series.
“Everyone looked at each other and kind of patted each other on the back, and it was over.” Markus Smart recalls. “On to the next one. We all knew. just stay together stay together We had each other’s backs. We knew Game 6 for us, it was going to be all hell. And there was.”
Lowe notes the contrast to how the team handled losses early in the season, citing an incident in November where Smart called out Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum for not passing the ball enough. The comments caused “real tension” in the dressing room, according to Lowe, particularly between Smart and Brown. And although the players worked out their differences, Lowe says the incident affected the atmosphere around the team for the next two months.
There’s more from Boston:
- According to ESPN’s Tim Bontemps, Brown called this year’s playoff run a “learning experience” that helped the Celtics become more resilient in tough situations. Brown believes that playing three elimination games already will benefit the team en route to Game 6 tonight. “We’re not scared. We’re not afraid of the Golden State Warriors.” he said. “We want to come out and play the best version of basketball we can. We know it’s a good team over there. We know they’ve done it before. But we have all the faith in ourselves. We’re going to come out and leave it all out there. That is the whole intention.”
- The Celtics plan to focus less on the umpires tonight, Bontemps adds. Coach I am Udoka thought his team was too distracted by the Game 5 administration.
- Robert Williams the series could potentially swing if the Celtics find a way to get him more offensively involved, suggests MassLive’s Brian Robb. Williams shoots 88% from the field against the Warriors’ smaller lineups, but he’s only fired 18 shots in five games.