WALTHAM -- After Thursday’s practice, Gerald Green spent a few minutes with Jae Crowder talking over some in-game adjustments the two would need to make when they’re on the floor at the same time.
Green understands all too well how important Game 2 is in this series, one that began with the Celtics losing 117-104 to Cleveland in a game whose final score was a lot closer than the actual game played.
The pressure to win is on, for sure.
But it’s not a given that Green’s more youthful teammates understand what it means to be in the Conference finals.
That’s why Green has spent the past couple days emphasizing how valuable it is to have a heightened sense of urgency for this series, which, for some players, is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
“We shouldn’t be happy to be here,” Green told CSNNE.com. “We should want to take it to the next level. We should be excited we get to go against one of the greatest players of all time and maybe one of the greatest teams. We should be thankful about this opportunity; be excited and not just happy to be here.
Green added, “ . We earned our way to be here. We earned the right to be the top seed. We need to make it a competition instead of looking like we're happy to be here.”
Crowder recalled a recent conversation with team trainer Ed Lacerte, who has been with the team almost 30 years and has been to the Conference finals just five times.
“That alone tells you how valuable playing basketball at this level is,” Crowder said. “That blows me away.”
And in Game 1, the same could be said for the Cavaliers who led by as many as 28 points before the Celtics chipped away at the deficit in the second half.
While the Celtics aren’t overly concerned about the series getting away from them just one game in, players agree that the team’s sense of urgency has to be ratcheted up for Friday night’s Game 2 battle.
“This doesn’t come often,” said Crowder, referring to playing in the conference finals. “It’s not guaranteed we’ll be here next year. You have to take advantage of it because you never know when its gonna happen again.”
And while it is a concern, Crowder feels the Celtics will respond appropriately in Game 2 to squash any doubts as to whether they are OK with simply being in the conference finals.
“We’re not a content locker room,” Crowder said. “We always find a way to bounce back after losses, after disappointment. There’s nothing else to do but bounce back, learn from it and get better.”