Celtics

No time to dwell on it, Game 7 awaits

No time to dwell on it, Game 7 awaits

CLEVELAND – The Celtics have been perfect at home in the playoffs and with a Game 7 win on Sunday, they would set an NBA record for consecutive home wins in the postseason with 11.

It would also improve their record to 38-0 in series in which they open with a pair of wins.

Still, as they went about making this improbable journey to where they are a win away from a trip to the NBA Finals, history has never been a motivating factor.

And with where they are now in the grand scheme of things, it becomes even less of a motivating factor.

“At the end of the day, you have to make your own history,” said Jaylen Brown. “We have to come out and do what we have to do. People can say what they want. Two teams have to come out and play.”

That stay-in-the-moment mindset has served them well all season and becomes even more important following a Game 6 loss Friday night, a game in which the Celtics did a lot of what they were intending to do in order to give themselves a shot at winning.

But the game ultimately came down to the C's going through one of its scoring lulls, getting behind by double digits and not making that one shot or getting that clutch defensive stop to swing the momentum in their favor.

There’s no time to dwell on that, not with a Game 7 matchup on the horizon.

“It’s over with now,” Brown said. “We can’t afford to think in the past, ‘oh we should have won.’ It’s over with. Game 7 at home in the Garden; great atmosphere, great environment, great stage. Come out and play some great basketball, high energy and let’s see who comes out on top.”

Here are five takeaways from Boston’s 109-99 Game 6 loss to the Cavs:

JAYSON TATUM


He had 15 points on 7-for-13 shooting which is a pretty good night for most players. But what really stood out was the fact that Tatum, arguably Boston’s best player at creating his own shot off the dribble, did not take a single free throw. The reason was two-fold: the ball didn’t find its way into his hands enough and when it did, opportunities to get to the rim and attack were few and far between.

MARCUS MORRIS


Marcus Morris has been tasked with being one of the primary defenders against LeBron James, knowing full well he – or any NBA player for that matter – can only hope to slow him down. Morris has not done as well of late in limiting James and to make matters worse, he has struggled to impact the game offensively. In Game 6, he was 3-for-10 shooting with a number of the misses being attempts at the rim or relatively open perimeter looks. Of all the Celtics, Morris will likely benefit the most when it comes to being at home.

CLEVELAND ROLE PLAYERS


LeBron James (46 points, 11 rebounds, nine assists) was dominant as ever, but it was the Cavaliers role players that really won this game for Cleveland. George Hill had 20 points. Jeff Green and Larry Nance Jr. came off the bench to score 14 and 10 points, respectively. Kyle Korver hit a couple 3’s and for the most part, did a solid job defensively. Limiting their impact will be among the chief goals for the Celtics heading into Sunday’s Game 7 matchup.

FREE-THROW SHOOTING


They’re called free throws but when you miss too many of them, there’s often a high cost to be paid. The Celtics found that out in Game 6. While the Cavs took two more free throws (22) than the Celtics (20), Boston wound up making seven fewer free throws courtesy of them shooting a woeful 55 percent (11-for-20) from the line while the Cavs were 18-for-22. Teams tend to shoot better from the line at home, a trend Boston certainly hopes will continue for at least one more game.

KEVIN LOVE


After a collision with Jayson Tatum in the first quarter, Love (concussion testing) was unable to return for Game 6, and at this point, he is questionable at best for Game 7. Jeff Green and Larry Nance Jr. picked up the minutes left by Love’s absence and if Love doesn’t play in Game 7 those two will likely gobble up most of those 30-plus minutes that would have gone to Love. That could lead to Boston making another lineup change with Marcus Morris back with the first unit in place of Aron Baynes to better match up with Cleveland.

NBC SPORTS BOSTON SCHEDULE

Celtics-Bucks simulation: Jayson Tatum vs. Giannis does not disappoint

Celtics-Bucks simulation: Jayson Tatum vs. Giannis does not disappoint

The NBA season has been put on hold due to the coronavirus crisis, meaning we may have to wait a while to watch the Boston Celtics again.

As a way to make up for the loss of Celtics action, we'll be using the NBA 2K20 video game to simulate each game on the schedule until they finally return.

PREVIOUS FIVE SIMULATIONS

The Celtics were supposed to be taking on the first-place Milwaukee Bucks in a must-see matchup Sunday. Here's how our simulation of that game went:

CELTICS STATS

The Celtics needed all of their stars to be firing on all cylinders for this game vs. the Bucks, and they did. Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum were the stars, tallying 34 and 29 points respectively. Tatum earned a double-double with 11 rebounds, as did Kemba Walker who notched a whopping 16 assists to go with his 23 points.

Gordon Hayward (12) and Marcus Smart (11) also scored in double figures for the C's.

BUCKS STATS

Giannis was... well, he was Giannis in this sim. The Bucks superstar torched the C's for 40 points, 18 rebounds, and seven assists. He also swatted away four shots.

Still, he didn't get enough from his supporting cast to finish the job. Eric Bledsoe was solid with 25 points, but Khris Middleton and the rest of the squad didn't do enough to give Milwaukee the edge they needed when it came down to the wire.

TEAM STATS

The Bucks actually topped the C's in most categories, but it didn't matter in the end. Boston was far more efficient from 3-point range and took care of the ball better late to pull off the thrilling victory over their Eastern Conference foe.

FINAL SCORE: Celtics 128, Bucks 123

We're up to 11 -- yes, ELEVEN -- straight wins for the NBA 2K Celtics. This was the most impressive one yet as it came against their No. 1 Eastern Conference foe. The simulation C's will look to keep it going Wednesday vs. the Indiana Pacers.

Classic Celtics: Watch C's outlast Suns in epic 1976 NBA Finals Game 5

Classic Celtics: Watch C's outlast Suns in epic 1976 NBA Finals Game 5

When it's referred to as "the greatest game ever played," it's probably worth re-watching.

NBC Sports Boston's "Classic Celtics" series -- which featured Larry Bird's dominant performance in Game 6 of the 1986 NBA Finals on Friday -- is back this Sunday with a gem from the archives: Game 5 of the 1976 NBA Finals against the Phoenix Suns.

With the series knotted at 2-2, the Celtics and Suns battled through three overtimes that featured several controversial calls before C's emerged with a thrilling 128-126 win at the Boston Garden.

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Buoyed that victory, the Celtics went on to win Game 6 and secure what would be the last NBA championship for the iconic core of John Havlicek, Dave Cowens, Jo Jo White, Paul Silas and head coach Tommy Heinsohn.

Our re-broadcast of Celtics-Suns airs Sunday at 7 p.m. ET, and Heinsohn will join Brian Scalabrine to provide color commentary throughout the game. 

Here's how to watch:

When: Sunday, April 5, 7 p.m. ET
TV: NBC Sports Boston
Streaming: NBCSportsBoston.com and in the MyTeams app

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