Celtics Maintain Hope with Their Backs Against the Wall

BOSTON – Boston’s back is now against the wall.

In falling 113-101 to the Milwaukee Bucks Monday night in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals, the Celtics find themselves facing a 3-1 series deficit with no more room for error.

The climb that lies ahead will be steep and unforgiving, but the C’s will do everything in their power to stay on their feet and continue forward as they head back to Milwaukee for Game 5 Wednesday night.

“The mindset better be to keep fighting,” Marcus Morris said after logging an 18-point, 14-rebound effort at TD Garden. “Anything can happen. I feel like we’re right there, a couple of possessions here or there, it could go either way.”

Morris makes a good point. With the exception of their 123-102 Game 2 loss in Milwaukee, the Celtics have been right there with the Bucks throughout the majority of the series.

Boston has been the tone-setter of all four games thus far, having won each opening quarter by at least two possessions. The problem in the last three games has been Milwaukee’s ability to respond to Boston’s hot starts, followed by the Celtics’ inability to answer back.

“Just managing their runs better,” Kyrie Irving believes is the main solution to Boston’s problems. “(Bucks head coach) Mike (Budenholzer) does a great job of calling plays on the fly, plays that have worked all series. They know these are the bread and butter, they’re scoring at a high clip on these particular plays, these three plays. And regardless of whether we switch or make adjustments he still knows that’s something that they can go to. So, I think that gives us the confidence to look at the film and know exactly what those plays are, but we just have (to be better).”

In a situation such as this, with the season on the line, it helps to have a calm, even-keeled voice in the locker room. The Celtics are fortunate to have that in their head coach, as Brad Stevens will do his best to keep the group locked in and free of panic as they take on their next task.

“You do the same thing you’ve been doing all along,” Stevens said is his message to the team. “You play the next possession and that’s it. You focus on that. It takes a lot of mental fortitude, it takes a lot of mental toughness, and it reveals a lot. And so, we’re looking forward to that challenge. We don’t want to be in this position, but we are. We’ve got to go to Milwaukee and do everything we can to give ourselves another chance to play (Game 6) Friday.”

Game 5 will be the first order of business, and it will without a doubt be the most important game of the season for the Celtics. This is do or die, win or go home.

“Our backs are really against the wall,” said veteran big man Al Horford. “There’s no looking back. We have to do what needs to be done to extend the series.”


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