The Boston Celtics are gearing up for a do-or-die Game 5 against the Miami Heat in front of their home crowd, and point guard Marcus Smart is challenging fans of the franchise to show out.
When asked by NBC Sports Boston’s Abby Chin what the team needs from its loyal followers, the veteran acknowledged that they desire one thing, in particular: energy.
“We need their energy. We’re going to need every last bit of it. We know they’ve been giving it to us all and we haven’t lived up to their energy. But we just ask that they don’t give up on us. Keep standing and rocking for us and we’re going to continue to do the same,” Marcus Smart said.
After coming away victorious from a must-win Game 4 Tuesday night, the Celtics find themselves down 3-1 in their best-of-seven series against the Heat and are looking to become the first team in NBA history to come back from an 0-3 deficient in the postseason.
Coming into their last contest, Smart and All-Star teammate Jaylen Brown publicly sent a warning in Miami’s direction, suggesting that if they let Boston get a win, a shift in the series could come about.
Coming into Thursday night, they hope to back these claims up by adding another win to their underwhelming collection.
Jimmy Butler Outwardly Unphased by Celtics Game 4 Win
The Celtics may have managed to attain their first win of this year’s Eastern Conference Finals matchup, but Heat star Jimmy Butler doesn’t seem too concerned about them building off of their lone triumph.
Asked during his post-game media session after Game 4 if he was concerned about Boston building momentum with their blow-out victory, Miami’s star issued a response that could bring chills to C’s fans.
“If anything it’ll build momentum for us knowing that we have to play with a lot more energy. We have to play like our backs are against the wall but I think all year long we’ve been better whenever we’ve had to do things the hard way,” Jimmy Butler said.
Butler would mention in a follow-up statement that despite their lowly play against the Celtics (scored 99 points compared to Boston’s 116 while just shooting 43.6% from the floor and a lowly 25.0% from deep), heading into Game 5, he and his teammates are “going to fall on old habits,” specifically noting that they’re “going to smile, we’re going to be in this thing together like we always are, and we’re going to get one on the road.”
Al Horford Called Out for Trash Talking
Despite his inconsistency throughout this year’s postseason, veteran big man Al Horford has not shied away from letting his emotions go and showing off his confidence when on the hardwood.
Unfortunately, for him, however, this came back to bite him during Game 3 of this year’s Eastern Conference Finals, when Jimmy Butler taunted him by throwing up the ‘time out’ celebration, a move Horford used against him earlier in the series, after Miami went on a run during their second-quarter explosion.
Naturally, the power forward took offense to the gesture, though, in Golden State Warriors star Draymond Green’s opinion, he had no right to be upset, claiming him to be a sneaky trash talker which, in turn, allowed Butler every right to copy his celebration at his expense.
“I’ll never forget Al Horford did my flex on me when he got an and-1, and they came back in game one. And what did I do? I politely gave it back in game two,” Draymond said. “But guys don’t like when you dish back what they give. Al Horford like be sneakily talking s*** and be mocking people in celebrations, and Jimmy hit him with the time-out joint, and he was ready to fight. That was hilarious because, again, you can’t get mad when you dished it first in game one prematurely, and then someone dishes it back, and it ain’t going so well.”
Despite finishing off the regular season with the second-best long-range shooting clip in the association (44.6%), Horford has struggled mightily with his stroke during the postseason.
Logging 30.7 minutes a night, through 17 games played the Celtics big finds himself posting mere averages of just 6.8 points, 6.9 rebounds, 2.9 assists, 1.8 blocks, and 1.2 steals while shooting 38.7% from the floor and 31.0% from deep.