Boston's View on Game 7? "It Don't Get Too Much Better Than This"
BOSTON – Jaylen Brown said what everyone is thinking: “It don’t get too much better than this.”
Buckle up. It’s time for a Game 7.
Boston and Toronto are all knotted up at 3-3 through the first six games of their series following an instant classic Wednesday night. The teams went to double-overtime during Game 6, nine players logged at least 47 minutes of playing time, and the Raptors outlasted the C’s 125-122.
Now the table is set for a do-or-die game Friday night, with the victor earning a berth into the Eastern Conference Finals, and the loser heading home for the first time since early July.
“This is all a part of embracing the challenge,” an upbeat Jaylen Brown said after Game 6. “And that’s what we gotta do: embrace it so we can get ready to come back and give everything for Game 7.”
Brown elaborated on the challenge that has presented itself to the Celtics, who at one point were 0.5 seconds away from taking a 3-0 series lead less than a week ago.
“This is what adversity is about. This is what basketball is about. This is what life is about,” he said. “You get put in tough situations; you can’t complain. Some days don’t go your way, but you stand up and you fight the next day. You start tomorrow.”
Boston might start its preparation for Friday’s Game 7 in a unique way come Thursday after considering the fashion in which Game 6 just unfolded. All five of the team’s starters logged more than 47 minutes of playing time – which is nearly a full regulation game’s worth – and all five were on the floor for the entirety of the fourth quarter and both overtimes.
Celtics head coach Brad Stevens said the C’s will “work the appropriate amount” in their lead-up to Game 7, which likely will include far more film and instruction than on-court work. Stevens is a big proponent of keeping his players off of their feet as much as possible between games.
He did, however, suggest one other piece of advice to help his players recuperate in time for Game 7.
“Throw some ice on your legs and get ready for Friday,” he said bluntly.
Stevens’ frank comment notwithstanding, the Celtics appeared to be optimistic and confident following their draining loss Wednesday night. The three players who spoke, Brown, Jayson Tatum and Kemba Walker, all owned the team’s mistakes during Game 6 while voicing a positive outlook for their looming win-or-go-home showdown.
Asked why he’s confident the C’s will respond to adversity in Game 7, Walker replied, “Why wouldn’t I be? We have great players. We’re very competitive.”
Brown voiced similar beliefs, all while revealing advice he has for his teammates who either have not appeared in a Game 7 or lack the level of experience in Game 7s that he has built while appearing in three such games during his career.
“Just breathe, first and foremost,” he said. “Just take a deep breath and play basketball ... Just breathe and play. Ain’t no extra pressure. Just come out and be the best version of ourselves.”
And what will happen if the Celtics heed Brown’s advice?
“Everything else will take care of itself,” he stated.
That’s the game plan for Boston as its season hangs in the balance. It has an opportunity to earn a trip to the Eastern Conference Finals for the third time in the past four seasons, in a Game 7, nonetheless.
As Brown said, it don’t get much better than this.