The Boston Celtics have staved off elimination at least once, but they’ll have to do it twice more if they want to punch their ticket to the Finals.
Boston enters Game 6 of the Eastern Conference finals down 3-2 to the Miami Heat. The C’s escaped elimination Friday night in Game 5, due largely in part to strong outings from Jayson Tatum (31 points, 10 rebounds), Jaylen Brown (28 points, eight rebounds) and Daniel Theis (15 points, 13 rebounds).
But Boston still has room to improve entering Sunday’s all-important contest, whether it’s shooting from the perimeter, breaking through Miami’s zone defense or containing the Heat’s explosive offense. The C’s will have a lot on their plate, but it’s something they must overcome if they want to play again in 2020.
So, what’s the biggest key to claiming victory in Game 6? Here’s what Kemba Walker thinks.
“It’s all about our preparation,” he told Celtics.com’s Marc D’Amico ahead of Sunday’s game. “We prepare pretty hard for these games. The coaching staff does a great job of giving us a game plan, we just have to follow that as well as just compete, man. I mean, it’s a Game 6, you know? We just have to want to do it. We have to, you know, want to get this thing to a Game 7. So, in order for us to do that, we’re going to kind of have to repeat what we did in the second half (of Game 5), but we’ve got to do it from the jump.”
Walker knows he personally needs to be more “aggressive” and make smart plays when attacking Miami’s zone defense. It’s given Walker a bit of trouble in the first five games, and it’s something he hopes to improve upon Sunday night.
“You just have to move the basketball,” he said. “You can’t just, you can’t hold it. That’s what they want you to do. They want you to hold the basketball and keep the ball above your head and, you know, slow down. … But you have to, you know, get that thing popping. Guys have to be aggressive in the zone, take the shots that come to us, and if not, just try to get in the paint as much as possible and be there for your teammates.”
Game 6 tips off at 7:30 p.m. ET.