The Boston Celtics are one game removed from elimination, and they’re expecting an all-out war for their next showdown with the Philadelphia 76ers.
With the series at 3-2 in Philly’s favor, the C’s are in extremely dangerous territory. They have to travel back to Philadelphia for Game 6 on Thursday night and play in front of a raucous crowd that’s longing for the Sixers’ first Eastern Conference Finals appearance in 23 years.
To rain on Philly’s parade, the Green Team will have to play to their full potential. They haven’t been able to do that for most of the Eastern Conference Semifinals, so Celtics point guard Marcus Smart believes they’ll have to put it all on the line to leave with a win:
“The brutality of [Game 6]. It’s a true dogfight, scratching and clawing, biting, blood, everything,” Smart said, per Jay King of The Athletic. “And if you’re not willing to pretty much get dirty, if you’re not willing to bleed. If you’re not willing to break something, willing to tear something going hard, then you shouldn’t be on that court because that’s what it is.”
Smart has the right mentality for the matchup, however, it didn’t translate on the court for Game 5. The Celtics fell 115-103 and were actually fortunate to only lose by 12 points. The former Defensive Player of the Year was diving on loose balls and trying to make winnings plays, yet he couldn’t get enough going offensively to ignite a comeback.
What went wrong tonight?
Marcus Smart: “Everything.”
— Chris Forsberg (@ChrisForsberg_) May 10, 2023
Smart wasn’t the only Celtic that came up short on Tuesday night. Veteran center Al Horford couldn’t hit anything, as he had zero points and missed all seven of his shot attempts. Guard Derrick White put up just seven points in 34 minutes and Sixth Man of the Year Malcolm Brogdon also had a disappointing outing with seven points off the bench.
Essentially, Boston was a mess in Game 5. The Celtics will have to follow Smart’s lead during Game 6 and play like their lives depended on it in order to save the season:
“You gotta go, you gotta be willing to risk it all for these games. And that’s the mentality we gotta have.”
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