ANG Boston Celtics ay second-seeded team sa Eastern Conference at tangan ang home-court advantage para sa best-of-seven conference finals laban sa Cleveland Cavaliers.
Sa kabila nito ay dehado sila laban sa fourth-seeded Cavaliers na susugod sa TD Garden para sa pagsisimula ng serye sa Linggo (Lunes sa Manila) target ang ikaapat na sunod na NBA Finals.
Aminado naman ang Celtics na dehado sila sa serye dahil sa presensiya ni LeBron James sa Cavaliers.
“You’ve got everybody counting us out, but we knew from the beginning we’ve got each other,” wika ni Celtics guard Terry Rozier. “We weren’t gonna lay down for nobody, no matter who was counting us out. We weren’t going to just let the teams come in and punk us.
“We were the No. 2 seed for a reason. With injuries, without, we were the No. 2 seed, so obviously we were doing something great all season and what (a reporter) said is true, you can keep counting us out. We’d rather (the media) count us out. We don’t want anybody on our side now. We’re doing good and we play better when our back is against the wall.”
Hindi rin nababahala si Celtics coach Brad Stevens sa pagiging liyamado ng Cleveland.
“We talked about it prior to the playoffs, nobody should love a challenge more, nobody should have more fun doing it,” wika ni Stevens. “I think our guys have done a good job doing that.”
Ayaw namang magkumpiyansa ni James laban sa Celtics.
Batid niya na lalaro ang Boston na wala si dating Cleveland running mate Kyrie Irving dahil sa knee injury subalit aminado siyang hitik sa talento ang koponan.
“I think they are one of the most well-coached teams in our league,” ani James. “Obviously, you know what I’ve said about Brad Stevens before and his ability to get the most out of his guys, how great they are out of timeouts, late-clock situations as well, no matter who is on the floor or no matter who has played for them, he can put guys in position to succeed and get the most out of whoever has been in their lineup over the past few years, it’s not just this year.
“I think it has been a little bit overblown this year because of the names that has been out. Obviously, with Kyrie and Gordon and the injuries with those two big guys, but he has gotten the most out of everybody he has ever put in his position since he’s gotten to Boston.”