BOSTON (CBS) – The Boston Celtics are going into Saturday night’s Game 7 against the Philadelphia 76ers a confident bunch, but they know things are not going to be easy.
“I think we’ll come out with a great sense of urgency,” captain Paul Piece said prior to the team’s practice on Friday. “It’s Game 7; there is no tomorrow. In order for us to advance we have to give it our all, we have to give everything we got. We need everything from everyone that steps out on that court and understand this could be the season. We have to play like a desperate team, regardless if we’re at home or not. The team that wants it the most is going to get it.”
Celtics Talk Game 7:
“We haven’t got it done yet, but we will tomorrow,” said a confident Rajon Rondo. “I think that’s our mindset, our focus, and our intentions coming into the game. We’re going to make sacrifices and make plays.”
The Celtics may be the higher seed and have the luxury of playing on their home court, but they do not have the luxury of youth or health. Avery Bradley is done for the playoffs, leaving Boston without one of their younger and more energetic players on the floor. The Sixers guards took advantage in Game 6, as both Jrue Holiday and Lou Williams had their way, especially late in the fourth quarter.
But the Celtics have dealt with injuries the entire season, and now that it’s crunch time, they’ll continue to do the same.
“I don’t even try to have our guys look at challenges. It is what it is, and we play,” said head coach Doc Rivers. “We play tomorrow night, we play at home, and we have to win the game. Forget all the other stuff. The stuff can’t play against you; you have to go play against Philly.”
“I’m very confident in this group. I’ve said it before; this is as good as a group I’ve coached as far as they have a way of getting ready,” said Doc. “Let’s hope it continues to go.”
In Game 6, 17 Celtics turnovers turned into 19 points for Philadelphia. They lost the 50-50 battles that had gone their way in Game 5. Now with one game deciding everything, the Celtics will have to limit their mistakes, and win those battles.
“I think seven games in you have to make sure you minimize your mistakes. You can’t be beat by game plan mistakes, turnovers; all those small little things,” said guard Ray Allen. “You give away a point here, two points here, an illegal defense; you win by three, four points, or even one, you look at all the small little things early in the game that caused that outcome.”
Asked if there is more pressure on his team, with the eighth-seeded Sixers entering the must-win with a “nothing to lose mentality,” Rivers scoffed at that notion.
“I don’t think any team has any more or less pressure than any other team,” said Doc. “I always laugh when I hear we have nothing to lose when you’re the other team. Yeah you do. You go home if you lose; you have a lot to lose. I think in Game 7s, both teams have the exact same amount to lose, and win.”
Doc On Game 7 Pressure:
While they might be feeling some pressure, the Celtics won’t be lacking motivation come Saturday.
“Game 7, what else could you ask for?” said Pierce. “If this isn’t the most important thing to you right now there is no other way to motivate basketball players. Nobody wants to end the season now. We have a great opportunity to advance, go to the Eastern Conference Finals on our home court; that’s all the motivation we need right now.”