Death, taxes, and the Celtics in Game 7s.
After an absolute rock fight of a Game 6, Boston pulled off a 95-86 win on the road over the Philadelphia 76ers to set up a winner-take-all grudge match at TD Garden. Thursday’s win marked only the second time the entire season that the Celtics held their opponent to under 90 points; both times have happened this series against Philadelphia, with the first being in Game 2’s blowout win.
“Just come out and play basketball,” said Jaylen Brown on what the Celtics did to win Game 6. “It’s something we’ve all been doing for a long time, and sometimes you put a little too much pressure on yourself. Just come out and breathe, have fun, and play basketball. You get uptight a little bit, but for the most part tonight, we just fought and we were able to pull out a win.”
In a way, this series against the Sixers has been a summary of the Celtics season. When the team plays up to their potential, effort is given, and they push the pace, even the best teams can’t keep up; when they don’t, you see outcomes like Game 1. Game 5 was a reminder of the team’s reliance on the three, and how even after the offensive season the Celtics have had, they are at their core better as a defense-first team. Consistent effort has been a problem in that regard, and that lack of energy has come back to bite the Celtics this series and against the Hawks as well.
In both playoff series that the Celtics have played, they’ve let opponents come into TD Garden and take games right out from under them, much to the chagrin of fans in attendance. The faith in this team wavered, and going into Game 6, it was a wild card on what the outcome would be. What version of the Celtics would it be taking the floor, Dr. Jekyll or Mr. Hyde? With that uncertainty just bubbling under the surface, the crowd energy at TD Garden has been halfhearted at best, and the players have taken notice.
Jaylen Brown CALLS OUT Celtics fans!— Celtics on CLNS (@CelticsCLNS) May 12, 2023
"The energy in the Garden has been OK at best ... We need everybody. So I'm calling you guys out, let's make sure the Garden is ready to go. "
Full Interview: https://t.co/rllyPnFwoH#Celtics #Sixers #NBAPlayoffs #NBA
⚡️by @FDSportsbook |… pic.twitter.com/VEZAEWugni
“I’m hoping that it’s going to be loud and it’s going to be rocking,” said Brown of TD Garden’s Game 7 vibes. “Celtics fans, y’all love to call us out, right? So, I’m gonna call you guys out this time. Energy in the Garden has been okay at best all playoffs. Game 7, if you’re there or if you’re not there, if you’re in your home, if you’re watching at a bar, if you’re watching down the street at a friend’s house, I don’t care. I need you to be up. I need you to come with the energy, because we’re going to need every bit of it. No excuses, we need everybody so I’m calling you guys out. Let’s make sure the Garden is ready to go.”
The playoffs are really where the crowds and home court advantage matters, and it’s good to know that the Celtics have taken that to heart. The energy hasn’t always been there for either the fans or the players, which is much different than years past where the energy and noise had the chance to sway games.
There’s been so many Game 7s at TD Garden over the past few years, and it’s without a doubt one of the worst road environments to play in; it’s what makes playing in Boston so special. For Brown to call it like it is means that he’s ready to show up and show out in a season-defining moment as they aim to punch their ticket to the conference finals.
“When the Garden gets going, there’s nothing like it,” said Brown. “So I’m expecting Game 7 to be a great basketball environment, and I’m looking forward to seeing you guys there.” With a winner-take-all scenario brewing in Boston, here’s hoping the Celtics can lean on that home crowd for one last push to get them over the top into the final four.