Boston Fans Chanting ‘Let’s Go Celtics!’ Steels Players’ Resolve for Game 7

Boston Fans Chanting 'Let's Go Celtics!' Steels Players' Resolve for Game 7BOSTON — Down by more than 20 points, with more than three minutes left on the game clock and the TD Garden seats at least half empty, Ray Allen and the rest of the Celtics got an emotional reminder of exactly who and what they were playing for.

The crowd was sparse, but its message filled the building.

Let's go Celtics!
Let's go Celtics!
Let's go Celtics!

Allen and Kevin Garnett, who was sitting beside him, could hardly believe their ears.

"I told Kevin, I know I'm biased, but these are the best fans I've ever played in front of or ever seen in my life," Allen said. "They understand the situation that is before us, and we understand it. That was basically them sending us off, letting us know, 'Hey, this is still well and alive. We need you guys to go down there and get a win for us.' We all felt it on the bench.

"It seemed like that last three minutes lasted forever. It was special. I'll talk about that forever, just knowing we're down 20 and these people are still standing up, cheering us on, because they know we just have to win one game."

One game. After the Celtics' listless 98-79 loss to the Miami Heat on Thursday, it comes down to one game in Miami to decide the Eastern Conference title. Either the Celtics will make their third trip to the NBA Finals in five years or the Heat will get their second shot at the first of what they promised would be many championships for South Beach.

The Celtics were angry and disappointed, coach Doc Rivers said, but they were steeled for winner-take-all game Saturday and had plans to take a trip to Oklahoma City for the start of the finals on Tuesday.

"[Paul Pierce] was down. Kevin was down. The whole locker room was down," Rivers said. "But you could see their resolve. They're not just going to pack for [Saturday]. They're going to bring suits for Tuesday, and they're going to bring suits for Thursday, and that's the way we're going to plan to do it."

Circumstances swing so greatly from game to game in the playoffs, it may seem like centuries ago that the Celtics were coming off their Game 5 win and the world was planning for the demise of the Heat's "Big Three." It is Boston's turn to regroup. They will have to do it without their diehard fans, but they have an opportunity regardless.

"The good news is, we get to do it again," Rivers said. "So that's the good news. The bad news, we have to do it on the road. We're comfortable on the road. We've been comfortable. But we're going to have to play a hell of a game."

If they need a bit of motivation, they can recall the echoes from the few fans who lingered until the gory end on Thursday.

Have a question for Ben Watanabe? Send it to him via Twitter at @BenjeeBallgame or send it here.

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