Celtics Ready To Play Desperate in Game 3

WALTHAM, Mass. – Sometimes being desperate is a good thing. The Boston Celtics hope that’s the case for them.

The Celtics, now down two games to none in their first-round series against the Knicks, aren’t officially backed up against the wall, but they’re pretty darn close. They know that they need to win Friday night’s Game 3 in order to have a legitimate chance at winning this series.

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The Celtics were left scratching their heads at the end of Games 1 and 2. They hope playing with desperation will give them some answers in Game 3.
Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE/Getty Images

“Throughout the history of the playoffs, when you go down 3-0, the percentages go way down,” said Paul Pierce before Thursday afternoon’s practice. “So we want to give ourselves the best chance percentage-wise of winning this series. This is the biggest game of the series so far.”

How the Celtics plan on giving themselves the best percentage to advance to the Eastern Conference Semifinals?

“Desperation,” Pierce said. “That’s what it is right now. We’re down 0-2. We’ve got to be a desperate team now.”

The word “desperate” is typically accompanied by a negative connotation. That’s not the case in this situation. When NBA players and coaches talk about playing desperate, they mean that they need to play harder than the other team. That’s how the Knicks played Tuesday night despite being up 1-0 in the series.

“I thought clearly the Knicks came out in the second half and acted a lot more desperate than we did,” Doc Rivers said on a conference call Wednesday afternoon. “And I thought it showed in the way they played.”

The Celtics cannot allow that to happen again or else they might be staring down an insurmountable deficit. Fortunately for Boston, just about every Celtics player who spoke to the media on Thursday used the “D” word. These guys know what’s on the line when Game 3 tips off at 8 p.m. Friday night.

“From here on out we have to play with [desperation] if we want to continue to play in the postseason,” said Jeff Green. “We have to play with desperation, play every game like it could be the last. We’ve got to leave it all out on the floor.”

Even Kevin Garnett, who doesn’t seem like a desperate kind of guy, touched on the subject. He knows that his team already faces a difficult task. He doesn’t want that task to become even more challenging.

“When you’re down 0-2 to a good team that’s playing really well, that has a rhythm, yeah, desperation is definitely into play,” Garnett admitted. “We can’t afford to think otherwise.

“This is it. You cannot go down 0-3 to any team, I feel like, in the postseason. That’s a very difficult situation when you put yourself in that.”

You heard it straight from the source. The Celtics are in desperation mode, and that shouldn’t be looked at in a negative way.

They know full well that they’re down 0-2. They know that they cannot afford to fall behind 0-3. That’s why they’re desperate to take the floor Friday night and play harder than the Knicks.

That’s what you need to do when you’re desperate.