BOSTON (CBS) — The Boston Celtics are pretty heated heading into Wednesday night’s game in Miami. A regular season win over the Heat won’t avenge last year’s loss in the Eastern Conference Finals, but Celtics players are hoping to get a sour taste out of their mouths.
It’s one that has lingered since Sept. 27, when Miami booted Boston from the NBA bubble. The Celtics were the better team heading into that conference finals matchup, but they certainly didn’t play that way. Boston was out-muscled and out-hustled during the series, and were ousted in six games. In each of the four losses, the Celtics blew fourth quarter leads.
“It was sickening. It felt like we did not leave everything out there,” forward Semi Ojeleye said after Wednesday’s shootaround in Miami. “Obviously, a credit to them. They’re a very good team. They won that series. Right now, we’re focused on tonight and leaving everything we have on the court. Let the result be the result.”
The Celtics are feeling pretty good about themselves, sitting at 5-3 on the season and winners of four of their last five. They’ve been far from perfect, but are riding high after Tuesday night’s convincing win over the Toronto Raptors.
The Heat, meanwhile, are 3-3 on the year and have yet to win back-to-back games. It’s a trend the Celtics would love to continue Wednesday night.
“This is a matchup obviously we’ve been looking forward to,” said Boston center Robert Williams said. “Coming out of the bubble, it left a certain taste in our mouths. We just expect to play off the last game. We plan on finishing the game strong.”
Finishing games was one of Boston’s biggest challenges a few months ago against Miami. We’ll see if they learned something from their disappointing end to the 2020 season, or if that bad taste will linger a little bit longer.