MIAMI – Facing the Game 7 of the Eastern Conference finals (Sunday 8:30 p.m. ET, ESPN Deportes)Boston Celtics coach Ime Udoka said it stands to reason that, after his team went through a roller-coaster ride through the season to get to this point, it all boils down to Boston having to win a third game on the road. here on the shores of Biscayne Bay to advance to their first NBA Finals since 2010.
“Yes, I would say yes,” Udoka said in a video conference with reporters on Saturday morning. “It’s not just the series for us, it’s been the whole season. Even in these playoffs, it hasn’t been easy… A lot of it is because of what we’re doing, and we can be better, for sure.”
“But for us, it’s another opportunity. You put yourself in this position, up 3-2, to have two games to win one. So as much as you like the idea of finishing it on your home court, we’ve been up-down in this series, and because of that, we are where we are now.
The Celtics had a chance to eliminate the Miami Heat at home in Game 6 on Friday night, but Jimmy Butler he had 47 points with nine rebounds and eight assists in 46 minutes in an all-time great performance to secure a Game 7 in contention.
But Boston also didn’t help itself by, once again, getting off to a poor start, something that has plagued the Celtics repeatedly in this series. Another constant problem, the third quarter, was also a mess again.
With their season on the line in Game 7, Udoka said the Celtics are focused on making sure they get off to a much better start in what could be their last game of the season, after committing several careless turnovers early on. of Game 6 and falling behind 12-5, essentially spending the rest of the game trying to get out of the hole.
“A lot of it has to do with our starts and having to come from behind the whole game,” Udoka said, when asked what causes the Celtics to lose their poise during games.
“We understood the situation Miami was in last night (Friday) and we didn’t play our best basketball in the first quarter defensively and offensively. We played behind the eight ball most of the game. Although we got the lead late or tied the score several Sometimes, it felt like we were always in an uphill battle, shooting each other in the foot.
We’d like to get off to better starts, push the opponent a little bit when they’re in that situation, similar to what we did against Milwaukee in Game 7. That’s our mindset going into [al juego]. Obviously going into (Miami) we want to start off better, get easy baskets and not liven them up early in the game.”
The forward’s performance was outstanding: he combined 47 points (4-8 triples), with 9 rebounds and 8 assists playing 46 of the 48 minutes of the game against Boston.
Udoka also spoke at length about the ways Miami was able to keep Jayson Tatum Y Jaylene Brown off the board in the second half of Game 6. After Boston’s two star wings scored 18 points in the first half, they combined to take seven shots in the second half, taking only one apiece in the fourth quarter, as the Heat went to great lengths to force other Celtics players to beat them.
It almost worked, since Derrick White, in particular, had a brilliant game off the bench. But Udoka said it’s a balancing act for his stars to find their teammates when the defense collapses on them while still being aggressive enough to make plays for themselves.
“Obviously early in the game, if they get chased, we encourage them to take the ball off and the defense will break down and open up for them later in the game,” Udoka said.
“They are our leading scorers and obviously in the fourth quarter, we need them to make it. [ganar el juego]. So we have to do a better job of finding them, giving them the ball and putting them in places knowing how the other team defends them.”
It was hard to see a scenario four months ago that the Celtics would be playing in right now, let alone Game 7 of the Eastern Conference finals. It’s been that kind of season in Boston. And, Udoka said, the resilience his team has built this campaign is something that can help them do what they did in each of the last two games played here at FTX Arena: come out with a win.
“We have been a tough bunch,” Udoka said. “We have overcome many things this year. In general, nothing has been easy, and that’s how the season has gone. It’s almost like we have to take the hard road sometimes and put ourselves in that situation, because of some of the things we’ve done in this series.
“[Nosotros] we understand the big picture and what we have in front of us. We earned the opportunity to have two games to win one, and we have to finish it in Miami now.”
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Celtics after a better start in J7 against Heat