After 16 Days, C's Will Finally be Back Home
WALTHAM, Mass. – Finally, the Celtics have come back to Boston.
The Boston Celtics played like they were homesick during Games 1 and 2 of their series against the New York Knicks, and for good reason. The C’s haven’t been in the friendly confines of TD Garden since April 10.
That’s right, April 10.
By the time Friday night’s Game 3 tips off, there will have been a 16-day absence of basketball from the Garden. The Celtics, more than anyone, are excited to be back home.
“First of all, it’s just good to be back in Boston. Period,” Doc Rivers said during a conference call on Thursday. “And second, it will feel great and be great to be back in the Garden playing in front of our fans.”
As we all know by now, a lot has taken place since the Celtics fell to the Brooklyn Nets on April 10 at TD Garden. The city was shaken at the core by the tragic bombings at the Boston Marathon. Five days later, Bostonians were restricted to their homes as a manhunt for the alleged bombers took place.
Those events contributed greatly to the Celtics playing only road games for the past two weeks. The NBA and the team decided to cancel Boston’s final regular season home game, which was scheduled to be played the day after the Marathon attacks.
“It feels like it’s been months,” Doc Rivers said on Thursday of the layoff between home games. “It will be great to be home. Obviously, these are extreme circumstances. We missed our last home game of the year, which I don’t know if that’s ever happened, and we’ve been on the road ever since.”
Needless to say, the thought of playing again in TD Garden has the Celtics energized. This will be an emotional return for anyone in the building wearing green and white.
“We haven’t been home since all of the current events and everything, so yes, we’re anticipating it to be very emotional, very inspiring,” said Kevin Garnett. “We’re looking forward to coming out and we’ll try to get this Game 3.”
The emotional side of things is only part of the story. Yes, it will be a 2.5-hour reprieve for the city to think about sports instead of tragedy. At the same time, this crowd can literally change the game in a good way for the Celtics.
“That’s why they call it a home court advantage. They always provide you with energy,” Rivers said. “There’s no better crowd in the NBA than ours. There’s no better crowd in sports than this city. They’re actually really invested, and that is the difference.”
Fans are especially invested during the playoffs, when they’re as desperate as the team itself to take home Banner 18.
“Fans really get riled up for the playoffs,” said Paul Pierce, “and with the tragedy, they’re probably going to be even more riled up.”
The Celtics know that they’ll have the city of Boston behind them, but they also know that such a fact doesn’t change the standing of this series. The C’s trail two games to none. The mere atmosphere of TD Garden and its crowd won’t change that.
“It feels good to be back home,” Pierce said, “but just because we’re playing at home doesn’t necessarily guarantee a win.”
The only way to guarantee a win is by outplaying the Knicks on the court and outscoring them on the scoreboard.
As Pierce said, “We’ve gotta go out and play like a desperate team with a huge sense of urgency because Game 3, right now, our season is on the line.”
There’s no place the Celtics would rather play with the season on the line than TD Garden.
Welcome home, fellas.