For the past two days, the basketball world waited to see how the Boston Celtics would respond to both collapsing down the stretch for a second straight game to open the Eastern Conference finals and the emotional outbursts in the locker room that followed.
But after the Celtics got themselves back into their series against the Miami Heat with a 117-106 victory on Saturday in Game 3, Boston said its response is proof that there is more than enough resolve within this team for it to turn this series around and win it.nike cheap nfl jerseys
“There are some great guys in that locker room,” Celtics guard Jaylen Brown said after leading Boston with 26 points, 7 rebounds, 5 assists, 3 steals and 1 blocked shot in 42 minutes. “A lot of emotion, a lot of passion. But we’re a family. We’re here for each other at the end of the day. We exemplified that when we came out together. We stayed together during some tough moments.
Still, the Celtics could take solace in the fact that they controlled large portions of those games. They then proceeded to come out and do the same thing in Game 3, except this time they managed to close the door on Miami, despite a brief scare when the Heat got within five points inside the final minute.
The difference? In Game 3, rather than falling into large stretches of passive play, as it did in the first two games, Boston was relentlessly aggressive in attacking the paint. Doing so produced a ridiculous 60-36 margin in points in the paint in Boston’s favor, allowing the Celtics to dictate the tempo of the game and keep the Heat on their heels.
“Our whole team was aggressive,” Celtics coach Brad Stevens said. “Our whole team played with the right mentality.”
That mentality was lacking in the first two games, which led to frustrations bubbling over in the locker room afterward, notably with Marcus Smart being heard among several players yelling at one another. But after the Celtics spent last season as a disjointed group that went through numerous locker room spats during the season, this version of the team has had practically no such moments.
After the Celtics responded with an impressive performance Saturday, the players shrugged off the idea that there would be any long-term issue as a result of this moment of turbulence.
“It’s been normal,” said Jayson Tatum, who had 25 points, 14 rebounds and 8 assists in 41 minutes. “Anybody that’s played sports, played in a team game, we’re not supposed to be happy being down 0-2. If you are, then you don’t care. We care about this.nfl nike jerseys cheap china
“Basketball is a game of emotions. So we want guys to be frustrated, be upset, to care. It’s nothing personal. We just have to figure some things out. It’s nothing more than that.
“You’re supposed to talk it out, figure it out and come together for the next game. Leave what happened in the past in the past because you can’t change it.”