The Boston Celtics are doing all the right things on the court at the moment. And saying all the right things off of it, too.
Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown weren’t all high and mighty after helping the Celtics put an absolute beatdown on the Phoenix Suns on Wednesday night on the road.
Instead, the Celtics stars continue to keep their focus not on what they have accomplished so far this season with the NBA’s best record, but in trying to get back to the NBA Finals and this time, walk away with the crown.
“Last two years being honest, they kicked our ass the last two times we were here and we remembered that. So, that was fresh in our mind that we wanted to have a different outcome,” Tatum told reporters, per NBC Sports Boston. “Everybody in the locker room understands what we’re trying to do. We realize we got the best record, we’re 21-5. With that comes a decision every night to play the right way, play as hard as we can on both ends. I wouldn’t say we’re playing angry. We’re having a lot of fun.
“The goal is still the same: Get back to the Finals and get over that hump. While we’re having fun and happy the way we’re playing, nobody in that locker room is celebrating or satisfied where we’re at. None of this means anything if we don’t hang a banner. That’s the ultimate goal. It’s a step in the right direction every night the way we’re playing, and I’m proud of that.”
The Celtics seemingly are playing with a controlled aggression they haven’t exhibited during the Tatum and Brown era. Brown explained that’s because losing in six games to the Golden State Warriors in the NBA Finals has armed the Celtics with ample motivation.
“Losing at the highest point in the NBA Finals, there’s nothing more humbling than that in a sense,” Brown told reporters, per NBC Sports Boston. “There’s nothing that can bring forth humility than losing at the time in the biggest moment of your career. Transferring into this season, I think we were all humbled. So, I think that’s a part of our makeup as well.
“Coming in and understanding that, kind of cultivates that force that you talk about. … Because we are playing from our experiences, from the heartbreak, from coming up short. And you’re seeing some of that being put forward into the season.”
The Celtics meet the Warriors for the first time since Golden State walked off the parquet at TD Garden in mid-June as NBA champions on Saturday. Tipoff for the contest at Chase Center is scheduled for 8:30 p.m. ET.