It's do or die time, folks. Six games into the Eastern Conference Finals, we're gridlocked at 3-3. You know what that means. Game 7, baby. Kevin Garnett and the Boston Celtics will try to knock off LeBron James and the pesky Miami Heat in a game that will send one team to the NBA Finals and the other to the golf course. Doesn't get much better than this.
Of course, the Celtics wouldn't have needed to play a Game 7 if they had only taken care of business at home on Thursday night. LeBron James had other plans, though, and they included scoring 45 points, grabbing 15 rebounds and dishing out five assists to lead the Heat to a 98-79 win in Game 6, sending the series back to Miami for one final hurrah.
Lots of people were impressed by LeBron's game, and Doc Rivers was one of them.
"I hope now you guys will stop talking about LeBron and that he doesn't play in big games," said Rivers, the Celtics' coach. "He was pretty good [in Game 6]. Now that's to bed."
But all of that is in the past now. For all intents and purposes, the East Finals are just a best-of-one. Win, and meet the Oklahoma City Thunder. Lose, and be full of regret all offseason (or in some players' cases, the rest of their lives). It's the nature of the game.
Boston has been here before, of course. In fact, the Celtics have played in more Game 7's than any other team in basketball history. They've played in 28 of them, winning 21. Not too shabby. They have even won one this postseason, disposing of the Philadelphia 76ers in a seventh game last round. Still, it won't be easy. Nothing ever is with this basketball team.
"Nothing's been easy up until this point," said Kevin Garnett. "You know, cant expect it now. It is what it is. We're going to take these cards and play them. Lot of confident guys in here, lot of guys who've been through Game 7's, lot of experienced guys. We're going to lean on that. And we're going to fight. A bunch of fighters in this locker room."
"Adversity has been our theme," added reserve guard ...er, excuse me, unofficial team reverend Keyon Dooling. "We're confident and we feel like we can win in Miami. We know it's going to take a team effort. It's going to take a lot of aggressiveness, and we just have to go out there and grind it out the way we know we are capable of."
That's certainly what you like to hear. Now, it's time for the Celtics to put up or shut up.