You won’t find the Boston Celtics sounding the alarms because of a one-game deficit in the Eastern Conference finals.
The Celtics suffered a Game 1 loss to the Miami Heat on Tuesday as a painfully historic third quarter overshadowed a strong first half. Boston, though, has been in this situation earlier this postseason after trailing the Milwaukee Bucks by one game three different times.
It’s allowed those like Robert Williams and Daniel Theis to remain confident heading into Game 2 in Miami on Thursday.
“We’ve got heart on this team,” Williams said during a video conference Wednesday. “We’ve been in certain situations where we have to fight ourselves out of the holes that we dug ourselves in. So, I’m a firm believer in us matching the adversity that we face. It starts with that and we’ve just gotta come together, correct the mistakes and be ready to fight. That’s what it comes down to.”
The way the Green started the game provides some added confidence, too, according to Theis. Boston recorded 17 assists on 26 made baskets during the first half while shooting 59% from the field. Unfortunately, it was not enough of a gap to make up for their horrid third quarter in which Miami went on a 22-2 run out of the break.
“We have a lot of confidence in our group. But on the other hand it’s also, we won three out of four quarters yesterday. The third quarter killed us,” Theis said. “That’s more convincing for us that we can beat this team. We just got to play a full game.”
The challenge was difficult entering Game 1 given the absences of both Marcus Smart and Al Horford. And there’s a chance it won’t be much better Thursday with Horford likely out as he remains in NBA health and safety protocol. Smart, who is dealing with a right mid-foot sprain, reportedly is eyeing a Game 2 return.
“I’m straight ready to roll. It’s always next-man-up mentality. We’ve been going through that all year,” Williams said. “In the beginning of the year starting with COVID, throughout the whole year dealing with injuries. As far as myself and other players, that goes back to the adversity side, we feel like we’ve done a good job stepping up. So, next-man-up.”
Williams, making his return after not playing in Boston’s previous four playoff games, was impactful while recording 18 points and nine rebounds in 29 minutes. He shared Wednesday that he is feeling good physically.
The Celtics will take the floor again at FTX Arena on Thursday with tipoff scheduled for 8:30 p.m. ET.