C’s Confident Heading into Game 6 Knowing What’s at Stake
The Boston Celtics have their backs against the wall for the first time this postseason, as they head into Game 6 Friday night facing elimination against the host Milwaukee Bucks.
The C’s went down 3-2 in the Eastern Conference Semifinals after losing a heartbreaking nailbiter at home Wednesday night. Now, their work is cut out for them, as the only way that they can stay alive is to defeat the defending champs in a hostile environment on the road.
The urgency inside the visitor’s locker room at Fiserv Forum will be heightened, but Boston’s players are also doing their best to try to block out the mental pressure of the situation by staying composed and in the moment.
“You can't put too much pressure on yourself,” Grant Williams said following Friday morning’s shootaround ahead of Game 6. “You have to treat it like any other game, but also understand that the intensity has to be there from out the gate.”
Head coach Ime Udoka’s message to the team is to just be themselves. In the fourth quarter of Game 5, they got back into some bad habits from the first half of the season, and it resulted in disappointment.
However, if they can play to their strengths, which they’ve displayed throughout the second half of the season and during their two wins against Milwaukee in Games 2 and 4, then they should be in a good position to come away with another road win.
“For us, it’s more of staying consistent with the things we’ve done throughout the series,” said Udoka, “which is defending at a high level. When we haven’t, transition and offensive rebounds – those are things that have come back to bite us. It seems not as much about anything that they are doing plays-wise, it’s the effort plays and those are the things that stood out in Game 5 and the way we kind of let it get away in the fourth quarter.”
Boston has proven itself to be capable of responding following defeat, as it has lost consecutive games only once since the middle of January. All of the bounce-back victories they earned throughout that time have prepared them for this moment.
“Good basketball teams respond to adversity and we’ve been doing it all season and the next game presents a new challenge, the biggest challenge of the year,” said Jaylen Brown, whose Celtics are 3-1 on the road this postseason. “Mentally, physically, emotionally, it puts a challenge on every component. So, we’ve gotta regroup and get our spirit to the point where we can go in and get a victory in Milwaukee.”
The Celtics are confident that they can win in Milwaukee because that’s exactly what they did the last time they stepped on the Bucks’ home court for Game 4. If they can repeat that performance and stay away from their late-game lapses from Game 5, then they’ll put themselves in position to see another day in the form of a Game 7 back in Boston.