With the top-seeded Boston Celtics down 0-2 in their NBA playoff series against the Chicago Bulls, most people would assume they’re not doing enough to win. But in some ways, they’re doing too much, according to Danny Ainge.
The Celtics’ president of basketball operations joined 98.5 The Sports Hub’s “Toucher & Rich” on Thursday to talk about what Boston needs to do now that it’s dropped two home contests and is headed to Chicago. And for Ainge, a big part of it is seeing the Celtics loosen up a little.
“Our team was ready to play and beat Chicago,” Ainge said. “Our guys were in a good frame of mind in the week leading up (to the playoffs), and we were healthy. I was hoping to see the best we’ve had to offer.
“But Chicago is a good team. They beat Cleveland four times this season. Right now we’re just not playing our best basketball. We’re not making shots, and it looks like we’re playing tight. We’re trying home run plays and trying to make six points on a basket. We’re not playing with the poise we need to play with, and (the Bulls are) playing very well and getting good performances out of everybody.”
Ainge’s last sentiment especially rings true if you’ve watched even five minutes of either Games 1 or 2. It’s been very obvious the Bulls are stepping up behind star Jimmy Butler, while the Celtics haven’t done as much around top-scorer Isaiah Thomas.
“In the playoffs, you need a couple of guys to make an extra step,” Ainge said. “They have, and we haven’t. I still feel a lot of hope. I know our team is better than how they’re playing. I’ve seen too much to think this is who we are.
“We’re playing tight. Maybe on the road, it will be a little lesser. Down 0-2, we have to play with desperation, and I still have hope.”
The C’s will get the chance to step up at 7 p.m. ET on Friday at the United Center in Chicago.
Thumbnail photo via Winslow Townson/USA TODAY Sports Images