CLEVELAND -- The Celtics' shocking 111-108, Game 3 victory over the Cavs on Sunday has clearly changed the narrative of the Eastern Conference finals. (Those sweep references? Delete, delete, delete.)
CELTICS 111, CAVS 108
But the Celtic players aren't changing their narrative:
Us against the world.
“Everybody in this locker room on this team has been told we couldn’t do something or had somebody that really didn’t believe in us,” said Marcus Smart, who stepped in for the injured Isaiah Thomas and finished with a playoff career-high 27 points. “We just kind of put that together all in one, and we just . . . told each other no matter what happens we’ve got to be the hardest-playing team. We just have to go out there and play.”
And play they did.
"We decided were going to go out and play hard, swinging." said Avery Bradley, who hit the game-winning 3-pointer with less than a second left. "We never counted ourselves out."
"We have guys who have chips on their shoulders," said coach Brad Stevens. "We knew that Friday (their 130-86 Game 2 loss at TD Garden) was a disaster. But [that game] wasn't worth [four losses]. It was worth one. So we got back together."
As good as they feel about themselves right now, the Celtics are well aware that Game 4 will likely see a more aggressive showing by LeBron James and a Cavaliers team that will be much more locked into their its assignments than it was in Game 3.
That’s okay. Boston knew finding success in Cleveland wasn’t going to be easy . . . or pretty.
“It hasn’t been pretty, but I don’t think this is a team is a pretty team,” Celtics wing Jaylen Brown told CSNNE.com. “We just kind of get it done.”
And that mindset should serve them well in what should be another tough and rugged matchup in Game 4 on Tuesday.
“We’re happy and excited, but we didn’t come to just win one game,” Brown said. “We came to win two.”