Milwaukee – The Celtics had more than their fair share of heartbreaking meltdowns in the first half of their regular season. The team’s fifth game loss against the Milwaukee Bucks brought back memories of that struggle after the team blew up a 14-point lead in the final 10 minutes of their home game.
This situation put the Celtics in danger of throwing what had been the historic second half of the regular season at a drain in front of the defending champions in the second round. Boston has been blasting this kind of golden opportunity over the past few years in the post-season. However, those trials went a long way toward helping Boston over the hump in Game 6. Jason Tatum, Jaylene Brown and Marcus Smart combined for 89 points to help the Celtics win their first road win since 2013.
“It was a great performance,” Brown said after the win. “Our backs are on the wall, you love to see the GT come out aggressively and carry us offensively as he did and enforce Game 7. Definitely a standout game for the Celtics and Jason. That was big so get ready for the next stage.”
Brown, Tatum and Smart have all come in two games (2020) and one game (2018) of the NBA Finals before, losing to teams despite having what many believe is a better roster overall. With Chris Middleton out with the Bucks, a similar scenario emerged here after Game 5 of the Eastern Semifinal, but the now-experienced core of the team came together to make sure they had a different fate this time around.
“Experience is the best teacher,” Brown said. “Being in certain situations and being able to learn from them was great early in all of our careers. Being in the big playoffs, being in seven games, being in the Eastern Conference Finals, etc. you learn a lot. So we had to show what We learned it in this next game and we are achieving and progressing.”
The road’s far from complete with Game 7 looming in Boston on Sunday afternoon in the winner-takes-all finale for a classic series. However, Brown believes the Celtics have adopted a mindset that allows them to put their best foot forward every night.
“Back against the wall, the elimination game,” Brown said. “You have to come out with a mindset like kill or be killed, survival of the fittest. We don’t want to be the team or feel like we have to be the team that’s going home. You go out, give your best, leave the past in the past and do the best job to execute in the next game and that’s What we did.”
It would be a completely different kind of game in the time Celtics with Tatum unlikely to go for a recurring 46-point performance. The Celtics will need to find a way to avoid losing their third home ground against the Bucks, and that will involve adapting to whatever the Bucks throw at them.
“The whole thing is that the bottom line is we need to win,” Brown said. “It was a big time performance and it helped us get W all our energy and all our focus on winning, not trying to win the head-to-head, not trying to outsmart anyone in front of us. As a group, as a team, all it takes is to win. JT had that mentality tonight and came out And get the job done, help us attack. Game 7 is a new story. We have to go out as a team and find ways to win again.”