Celtics Focused as Game 5 Looms

MIAMI – All of the reporters at Tuesday morning’s shootaround wanted to ask the Celtics about Chris Bosh’s possible return for tonight’s Game 5. The Celtics obliged, but all they really wanted to talk about was the importance of this contest.

Swing games can make or break a series in the NBA Playoffs. They’re called swing games because of the amount of momentum they can swing to one team. That momentum oftentimes propels that squad on to the next round.

Paul Pierce

Paul Pierce and the Celtics were focused at Tuesday morning's shootaround.
Brian Babineau/NBAE/Getty

The next round for the Celtics and Heat is the NBA Finals. As Paul Pierce noted, both teams can sense that they’re approaching the final round, and both teams believe they can win it all.

“I think that every team that’s in the playoffs feels that,” said Pierce. “I’ve been saying it all along since the playoffs started, it’s as wide-open as it gets. You could have any of the four teams that are left be in the Finals. I don’t think there’s a clear-cut favorite.”

Boston’s captain went on to note that he doesn’t want his team to look ahead. Instead, he wants his teammates to concentrate on what’s at stake in tonight’s Game 5.

Pierce’s sentiments are very similar to those of his head coach. Doc Rivers has been consistent throughout these playoffs in hammering home the importance of Game 5s, and he did it again Tuesday morning.

“Every Game 5 is a Game 7, as far as I’m concerned,” Rivers said. “That’s how I try to get our guys through all of the Game 5s we’ve been in: You have to view it as a Game 7.”

Neither team is going to be eliminated from the playoffs tonight, but the point Rivers is making is that the loser of tonight’s game will be placed in a very difficult situation, one that not many teams have been able to overcome. On the contrary, the winners will have put themselves in prime position to become the Eastern Conference champions.

In order for the C’s to place themselves into the latter category, they’re going to need to pull off a win in AmericanAirlines Arena. This isn’t an easy building to grab a win in as a visitor, as evidenced by the Heat’s 28-5 home record this season. However, one of those five losses came at the hands of this Boston team, and the C’s are prepared to pull off the feat again.

“I think we’re a very focused group today,” said Pierce. “We understand what’s at stake. This is a huge game for us down here in Miami. I think we still talk about we haven’t put together four quarters yet, so we’re confident that our best is still yet to come.”

While Pierce commented on his team’s confidence, Kevin Garnett took a different route. When he was asked about how the Celtics can maintain the level of intensity that they have displayed over the past two games, which were both victories, he responded in typical Garnett fashion.

“It’s simple,” he said matter-of-factly. “Come out here and compete for 48 minutes.”

There is no doubt that these guys understand the magnitude of tonight’s game. They’re focused on taking advantage of this swing game, and that’s all you can ask for on the morning of the most important tilt of the season.