WALTHAM, Mass. – When it comes to winning playoff games, half the battle is being confident enough that you can come away with the victory.
But after getting their world rocked in back-to-back games by the Washington Wizards, one has to wonder just how big a dent did Boston’s Game 3 and 4 beatdowns, deliver to the team’s confidence.
Isaiah Thomas, as confident a player as you’ll find in the NBA, says the Celtics still feel good about their chances to emerge victorious in this series.
“It’s 2-2. All they did was take care of business at home just like we did,” Thomas said. “Everybody from the first guy to the last guy has to remain confident in what they do. If we do that, that puts us in a real good position.”
But maintaining a high level of confidence is easier said than done.
We saw in Game 4 just how fleeting it could be, with one missed shot after another by Boston that culminated in what turned out to be yet another Wizards blowout by the tune of 121-102.
Following the game, Thomas commented on how he noticed some teammates being a bit down on themselves after shots weren’t falling, and that conversely had a negative impact on how they defended.
Celtics Avery Bradley said he noticed some players were down at times in the game as well.
“But that could go back to immaturity a little bit,” Bradley said. “Us just losing control as a group. The coaches, players, us as a whole, have to do a better job of keeping our composure and making sure we’re focused. Even if we’re down in a game like that, all you can do is play hard at the end of the day.”
For the Celtics, often their confidence begins and ends with the play of Thomas who was the top scorer in the Eastern Conference during the regular season with a 28.9 points per game average.
In the playoffs this season, Thomas’ scoring average is down slightly, to 25.6 points per game.
When describing his mindset heading into Game 5, Thomas doesn’t mince words about how he’s approaching it.
“To kill; to, to be the best I can possibly be,” Thomas said. “Put my team in position to be successful, make plays and be myself. I have to play with my foot on the gas. I can’t take it off. I gotta keep going and I know if I do that my teammates will follow. I’ll be ready for (Game 5).”
Avery Bradley isn’t nearly as boisterous about his play as Thomas, but he too will be playing with the confidence that he too can make a difference in this series with his play at both ends of the floor.
“Just focus on moving on to the next game. That’s the most important thing,” Bradley said. “Making sure we’re trying to correct all our mistakes and moving on to the next game. People counted us out last series. Some people may count us out now. That’s how the NBA is. There’s a lot of good teams, lot of good players. You can lose two in a row, and win five in a row. It’s part of the game. It’s our job to make sure we’re prepared, everybody’s healthy and we’re all locked in to accomplish the main goal and that’s to win this series.”