Down franchise-altering offseason additions Gordon Hayward from the start of the regular season and Kyrie Irving since right before the postseason started — and with tonight’s Game 7 at TD Garden standing as the only thing keeping the Celtics from the fourth round — this may be a good time to remind you that the Celtics shouldn’t be here.
Led by the scoring of Jaylen Brown, Terry Rozier, and Jayson Tatum, everything about the C’s seems too young for this spot.
They’ve heard a billion times, too. From fans, the opposition, those in the media.
But they haven’t heard it from their coach, Brad Stevens, and likely won’t.
Not when the Celtics sit just one win away from their first trip to the NBA Finals since 2010.
“I mean, I’m sure we’ve slipped on this, but I’ve tried my best all year not to talk about their age, you know, both to them and in the media,” Stevens admitted during yesterday’s off day. “I think obviously you get asked about it a lot. It’s not about that. It’s about they’re really good basketball players. They’re really committed to each other. They’re a great group of guys.
“It’s a fun team. They care about ‘team.’ And we all have a job to do, go out and try to play the best that we can. And that is regardless if it’s Game 7, Game 1, a game in November, whatever the case may be.”
Given their newness to their situation, perhaps it’s no shock that the Celtics’ top talents have been significantly better at home than on the road, with a perfect 10-0 record at TD Garden compared to a 1-7 road mark this postseason. But that only works in their favor, of course, as tonight’s game will be played on Boston’s parquet, where the Celtics are 20-4 in Game 7s.
“It’s going to be a lot of fun, first and foremost,” Rozier said of Game 7 in Boston. “It’s going to be a lot of fun. We’re looking forward to it. Obviously, we came up short [Friday]. But we need the whole city of Boston to be behind us. We know LeBron is different than a lot of other guys, but we’ve got to get the job done. That’s no excuse, so we’re looking forward to it.”
Rozier shined in Game 7 earlier this postseason, too, with a Celtic-leading 26 points on a 10-of-16 (including a 5-for-8 mark from three-point land) shooting night in the Green’s Game 7 win over the Bucks back in round one.
But more than just Rozier will be looking forward to this game, according to Stevens.
“We will be ready to play, and our guys are looking forward to it,” said Stevens.