The crowd at TD Garden reached new decibels with each basket, however, eventually ending with a roar to celebrate the Celtics’ 106-103 win over the Charlotte Bobcats. This wasn’t your usual non-playoff crowd.
The passion displayed by the green team’s fans has been consistent all season — and the hero of Friday’s win made sure to give them all a nod.
“I, personally, want to thank our fans, the Boston Celtics organization’s fans, because I know this year’s been up and down,” said Jared Sullinger, who had 20 points in the victory. “The past (six) years, since the ’07-’08 season, they’re used to seeing playoffs, they’re used to seeing a title-contending team. This year, we’re not in the playoffs, but they still come out and they still support us.
“I know they’re not used to it, but their sportsmanship, their passion for the Celtics, it doesn’t go unnoticed with us. We appreciate them all.”
Although tanking talk has been unavoidable, Celtics coach Brad Stevens echoed Sullinger’s comments. For Stevens, the moment that stood out for him came when 5-foot-11 rookie guard Phil Pressey dove on the floor to steal the ball away from Jannero Pargo, and the crowd came to life.
“This is what gets me so excited about coaching here — everybody gets that,” Stevens said. “This place erupted at that moment. They understand it. I’ve talked about how great the fans have been to us all year, in a tough year, and that was really a neat moment. I wish we could’ve stopped and cheered (for the fans), but we had a game to play.”