The Boston Celtics had every right to fold and start planning for vacation after their crushing Game 5 loss, but according to head coach Ime Udoka, that never crossed their minds.
“Never any doubt or hangover from (Game 5),” Udoka said during his postgame media availability, per Celtics team Twitter. “We had the right resolve.”
It’s hard to argue with the man. Ever since the calendars turned over to 2022, the Celtics have been as resilient a team that the NBA has to offer. In Udoka’s own words, Game 6 was, “a testament to what we’ve been in the second half of the season.”
With their backs against the wall, Boston stepped up, thoroughly outplaying the Milwaukee Bucks on their way to a 108-95 victory to force Game 7.
While Udoka was confident in the Celtics’ ability to rebound from their Game 5 loss, guard Marcus Smart said he was less comfortable moving forward.
“Those final minutes ate me alive,” Smart said to the media postgame, per Celtics team Twitter. “My guys did a good job making sure I stayed as composed as I could and keep my mind right, because I was really hurting after that. I felt like I let my team down.”
Smart of course was referring to his game-sealing turnover in the final minutes of the home loss. With an opportunity to respond in a very similar situation, the Celtics did.
“Everybody was just calm. Everybody kept their composure, and everybody was as poised as we’ve ever been,” Smart said, per NBA writer Keith Smith. “That’s a sign of a team that’s maturing.”
The Celtics and Bucks will travel back to Boston for Game 7 at TD Garden. Tip off is scheduled for 3:30 p.m. ET on Sunday.