C's 'Have All the Motivation in the World' Heading Into Game 6

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On Thursday night, the Boston Celtics will take the court at TD Garden for the final time this season in what will be the biggest game of their lives.

They find themselves in a desperate situation, trailing the Golden State Warriors 3-2 in the best-of-seven Finals series, with no room for error. Win and they force a Game 7 back in San Francisco. Lose and their journey comes to an end.

The pressure couldn’t be higher, but the C’s feel ready, knowing that all of the obstacles they have overcome throughout the season have prepared them for this moment.

“We haven't backed down from a challenge all season,” Jaylen Brown said following Wednesday afternoon’s practice at TD Garden. “We look at it as no different now. It's unfortunate that sometimes those learning curves turn into losses. But we wear every experience as a badge of honor. We take everything that we learn into the next game. We put ourselves in the position to be in this series with a team that has won and done it before. We're looking forward to Game 6. We're looking forward to coming out and getting the win, forcing a Game 7.”

In NBA history, only 16.2 percent of teams facing a 3-2 deficit have gone on to win Games 6 and 7. It takes a special team to dig out of such a hole, and this Celtics has already proven itself capable of doing so having overcome a 3-2 deficit in their second-round series against the Milwaukee Bucks.

The key to prevailing with their backs against the wall isn’t necessarily about making big adjustments, but more so about focusing on what the team does well and trying to be as perfect as possible in those areas.

“I do believe that when you get to this point, you always look at winning teams and what do they do?” Al Horford pondered. “They buckle down and they do the little things consistently and the right way and just get to it. A lot of times we're looking for different answers, different things. But if we're solid, if we do what we need to do, that puts us in the best position.”

Mentally speaking, the Celtics are already in a great position. Battling through multiple series deficits throughout this playoff run has instilled a high level of confidence within the team, so there’s not much extra motivation that they need to get their energy up.

“It shouldn't take a hero speech or anything like that,” Jayson Tatum said of the team’s mindset heading into Game 6. “Everybody should be juiced up and ready to play. I'm not even going to say if they're not, it's a problem. Everybody is going to be ready to play. I'm not worried about that at all.”

They’re not worried about the fact that they’re coming off their first set of back-to-back losses since late March simply because they are still standing. They’ve fought too hard throughout the season to fall now.

“I do believe that the way that this team is, just too much fight,” said Horford. “There's too much fight. There are guys that are just competitive, guys that want to compete. I'm confident with our guys. I'm confident that they'll come out and that we will respond. Obviously, Golden State is a really good team, but we feel good about our group.”

Adding the fact that Game 6 will be played at home in front of what should be the loudest crowd they’ve ever encountered only amplifies their confidence and motivation.

“We have all the motivation in the world,” said Brown. “Game 6 on our home floor in front of our fans, last game in TD Garden. Nothing more needs to be said.”