The Celtics prepare for game-6 with their backs to the wall: the support of the TD Garden, ready to push Tatum and his teammates, could make the difference
The giant posters are still there, at the entrance to the TD Garden. Posters with the faces of Celtics players still adorn the streets, the iconic places of the city. They are the perfect reminder that it’s not over, that Boston still has a chance to win title 18. Sure, Udoka’s team is now cornered, down 3-2 in the Finals against Golden State and with no prospect. too welcome to see the rivals party tomorrow night, in case of victory in race-6. But Boston is confident: “I told the boys: let’s go home, rest and get ready to bring the Finals back to San Francisco for Game 7,” said coach Udoka before leaving the Bay.
In the nearly 6 hours on the charter flight that brought the team back to Boston from the private Oakland airport, the coach thought about how to solve the problems of his attack. That is the biggest concern for the Celtics, much more than Steph Curry or the defense. With the Warriors always nailed between 100 and 108 points, Jayson Tatum and teammates managed to win when they scored in triple figures, losing on three occasions, including Game-5 in which they remained at 100. As Udoka claims since the beginning of the series, it is the attack of the Celtics to make the difference, not the defense that remains a fixed point. “We have had moments where we have been too stagnant in this series – explains Udoka with the usual wealth of technical details, his low voice and quick gab -. When we play, our attack is a fluid movement of the ball like in the third quarter of game-5, when we were able to build open shots. When we slow down, we become stagnant and increase turnovers and complicated shots ”. The complicated relationship with the three-pointers is the best explanation: the Celtics started Game-5 with 12 consecutive wrong triples, a new Finals record, followed by 8 consecutive three-pointers, a new Finals record. Boston also set the all-time record for three-pointers in a playoff ride, 317, taking it away from the 2016 Warriors.
With their backs to the wall
It is not just a question of percentages. The Celtics for the first time this postseason have lost two consecutive games. And for the first time in this series they seemed on the ropes, unable to react, confronted with their limits: the short bench that forced coach Udoka to squeeze Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown; the injury that prevents Robert Williams from playing to the maximum (with him on the pitch +11 Celtics in Game-5, lost 104-94); the ups and downs of the attack. Yet Boston trusts. It comes from the experience, from the ability of this group to straighten a season that in January seemed destined for anonymity, if not worse, and that still sees them on the field in June, from the 3-2 comeback in Milwaukee in the conference semifinals, even winning game-6 away. “We have our backs to the wall – admits Al Horford, one of the leaders of the locker room -: it is the moment in which we must look each other in the eye and understand how to do it, knowing that there is no tomorrow for us”. Brown has another kind of confidence, a deep conviction that the Celtics can still move up a step to straighten these Finals that risk getting irremediably out of hand: “I am convinced that we can play much better than we have in the last two games. We need to get back to playing our way, the Boston Celtics way. We have to do it in the next two games, attack as we know we can. We will have the city behind us, and I can’t wait to play ”. Boston is ready, with its history and its pride, its legends and its flags, to support its team. Will the Celtics be ready too?
June 15 – 06:59
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