The Boston Celtics are perfectly content with the familiar role of underdog heading into the Eastern Conference finals against LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Despite being the higher seed and owning home-court advantage for the series, the Celtics find themselves as underdogs, both among oddsmakers and most NBA observers.
But these Celtics are used to using doubt to fuel them. It’s been that way since Gordon Hayward was injured on opening night of the regular season in Cleveland. And few expected the Celtics to stick around long in the postseason, even after winning 55 games and claiming the No. 2 seed in the East.authentic nfl jerseys cheap
“You’ve got everybody counting us out, but we knew from the beginning we’ve got each other,” Celtics guard Terry Rozier said after Boston’s practice on Friday, its first since dispatching the Philadelphia 76ers in five games.
“We weren’t gonna lay down for nobody, no matter who was counting us out. We weren’t going to just let the teams come in and punk us. We were the No. 2 seed for a reason. With injuries, without, we were the No. 2 seed, so obviously we were doing something great all season and what [a reporter] said is true, you can keep counting us out.
“We’d rather [the media] count us out. We don’t want anybody on our side now. We’re doing good and we play better when our back is against the wall.”
The Celtics were underdogs for the first four games of their second-round series against the Philadelphia 76ers, and only a minor favorite despite playing Game 5 at home earlier this week.
Celtics coach Brad Stevens said before the playoffs that he loves seeing “narratives busted.” And he knows that his players have fed off the perception that they can’t be competitive while playing without injured All-Stars Gordon Hayward and Kyrie Irving.nfl jerseys for cheap
“We talked about it prior to the playoffs, nobody should love a challenge more, nobody should have more fun doing it,” said Stevens. “I think our guys have done a good job doing that.”
Of course, the Celtics understand full well why they are underdogs in this series, particularly with the way James is playing and the relative ease with which these Cavaliers swept through top-seeded Toronto in Round 2.