The Boston Celtics were on the brink of having their season come to an end. Now, they are on the brink of doing what no other team has done in NBA history.
A week ago, Boston’s season felt hopelessly lost after falling into a 3-0 series deficit to the Miami Heat in the Eastern Conference finals. But after back-to-back double-digit wins and Derrick White coming to the rescue to lift the Celtics to a stunning Game 6 victory Saturday night at Kaseya Center, the Celtics are just one more win away from becoming the first NBA team to ever complete a comeback after being down three games in a series.
But how did the Celtics change their fortunes so quickly?
“It just takes togetherness,” Jaylen Brown told reporters as seen on NBC Sports Boston postgame coverage. “Everything was going wrong. That’s when you start to see the character of yourself. That’s when you start to see the character of your group. Doesn’t measure a man when everything is going well. Measure a team, or a group or an individual when adversity hits, and it hit us like a storm. It can’t get no worse in the playoffs than how we kind of been playing. And look at how we responded.”
The Celtics have certainly mustered a terrific response, including in Game 6 to keep their season alive. Boston blew a 10-point lead with less than four minutes remaining and trailed by a point after Jimmy Butler sank three free throws with three seconds remaining. But the Celtics, as unlikely as it may seem, thrive in adverse situations.
“They’re just resilient,” Celtics coach Joe Mazzulla told reporters as seen on NBC Sports Boston postgame coverage. “I’ve said it throughout the year, that’s one of the best locker rooms I’ve ever been a part of. It starts with them. They have a togetherness, they have a connectivity and at their hardest times, they stick by each other. And they’ve done that for a long time. So credit to them.”
The Celtics are the 151st team in the league’s history to fall into a 3-0 series hole. The 150 before them have never won four straight after that. Only three teams in that position before the Celtics have ever forced a Game 7 — none of those teams played that pivotal contest on their home court, though.