BOSTON (CBS) – Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Finals at the Garden was not a pretty one for Boston Celtics fans.
With a chance to close out the Miami Heat and head to their third NBA Finals in five years, the Celtics put on a less-than-inspiring effort, falling to LeBron James and Co. 98-79 to set up a do-or-die Game 7 Saturday night in Miami.
The Garden crowd had to sit and watch James score 45 points, seemingly with ease, and the Heat push their lead up into the 20’s at points in the fourth quarter.
LISTEN TO THE CHEER AND THE C’S REACTIONS:
Many fans hit the road mid-way through the fourth with the deficit hovering around 25, trying to beat traffic or get to bed a little earlier.
The Celtics gave them few reasons to stay as their “de-fense” chants were being ignored, and after Brandon Bass’ putback jam in the third, there was little to get them out of their seats .
But those who stayed showed their support.
With scrubs for both teams on the floor and three minutes to go until the blowout would be complete, the Garden crowd started a blaring “Let’s Go Celtics” chant that lasted until the clock hit zero.
It was their version of Miami’s “Good Job, Good Effort” kid, showing their team they still had their full support.
The entire Celtics bench stood as final seconds ticked off and the fans serenaded them with the chant, soaking it all in.
“Did you hear our crowd the last three minutes of the game? What other crowd in the NBA does that?” head coach Doc Rivers asked. “It’s a terrific place to play. The fans were unbelievable. They did their part tonight; we just didn’t do ours.”
“It was crazy,” said Kevin Garnett. “It was (Garnett’s favorite expletive) crazy.”
KG On Celtics Fans, Game 7:
“Kevin was sitting next to me, and I said ‘I know I’m biased, but they are the best fans I’ve ever played in front of or ever seen in my life,'” guard Ray Allen said.
“It seemed like that three minutes lasted forever; it was special. I’ll talk about that forever. Just knowing that being down 20, and these people are still standing up cheering us on, because they know we just have to win one game.”
“They understand the situation that is before us, and we understand it,” Allen said. “And that was basically them sending us off, letting us know, ‘Hey, this is still well and alive. We need you guys to go down there and get a win for us.’ We all felt it on the bench.”
If things don’t go as planned for the C’s in Miami, Thursday night could have been the final time the current Big 3 played together on the Garden floor.
While the results on the scoreboard weren’t what they would want to go out to, the lasting image the fans left them is one they will never forget.
“I want to say to all the fans, thank you guys,” said Garnett.
“I’ve never in my life experienced anything like this in any sport. I’m just truly blessed to be a Celtic and be a part of the city of Boston.”