Forget for a second that the Boston Celtics will be playing their 16 playoff game in 32 days on Friday night. Push aside the fact that Kevin Garnett, 36 years old and with more than 50,000 NBA minutes under his belt, has never played longer in a Celtics uniform than the 45 minutes he posted in Game 2. Overlook the possibility for mental fatigue that comes with flying from Miami to Boston on Thursday before playing a must-win Game 3 against the Miami Heat on Friday night.
Focus on this: How do the Celtics respond to a stomach-punch loss that came even on a night when Rajon Rondo was better than he’s ever been?
I wrote a column for the Springfield Republican newspaper about Boston’s mentality entering Game 3. A short excerpt follows:
How can the Boston Celtics bounce back from the season’s most devastating loss with only one day to recuperate, knowing the Miami Heat just overcame the best game of Rajon Rondo’s career to seize a commanding 2-0 lead in the Eastern Conference Finals?
The hope is that professional athletes, especially ones who have succeeded for as many years as Boston’s core, don’t recognize the demoralizing nature of close losses. The hope is that the Celtics don’t see Game 2 as a statement on the futility of their own best efforts, but as a contest they were one or two plays away from winning.
“Our guys are very confident heading into Game 3,” Doc Rivers said Thursday during a conference call with reporters.
Read the whole article if you love me.