'Desperate' C's return with season at stake

'Desperate' C's return with season at stake
April 25, 2013, 4:45 pm
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WALTHAM, Mass. — The Boston Celtics' first round playoff series has now shifted to Boston, and the C's are hoping a change of scenery will change the series' momentum.

Boston returns to the TD Garden for Games 3 and 4 against New York trailing 2-0, desperately needing both games in order to even up this best-of-seven series.

But first things first.

The C's have to find a way to win Game 3, a challenge that should be aided now that the Celtics will be surrounded by an arena full of their own fans.

Home has definitely been a good thing for the Celtics this season where they compiled a 27-13 record. The only teams in the East to play better than the C's at home this season were Miami (37 wins), New York (31) and Indiana (30).

Despite that success at home, they did not beat the Knicks at the TD Garden this year with New York winning the head-to-head battle 3-1. The C's lone victory over New York this season came on Jan. 7 at Madison Square Garden.

"There's no better crowd for sports, than this city," said Celtics head coach Doc Rivers. "They're actually really invested, and that's the difference. There's a lot crowds ... 'they're winning now, they come. And then you see all the hats and all the mouths you hear when you walk in the city. But in Boston, whether you're winning or losing, we still hear the people talking. That's just the way they are, the way they are built and we expect it to be very much that tomorrow."

The Boston Marathon tragedy that injured many and killed four, led to an emotional outpouring for Boston's other professional sports teams upon their first home game following the incident.

Friday's Game 3 matchup will be the first time the C's will play in a home game since the April 15 incident.

And because of the explosions, Boston's regular season finale at home against Indiana on April 16 was canceled with no date to reschedule.

Boston played at Toronto on April 17, so the C's have been on the road for about a week.

While it has been difficult for anyone in this part of the country to not think about the Boston Marathon incident, Rivers has made a point to not use the events of that day as added motivation for his players.

"I don't do that," Rivers said. "I don't use tragedy for sports. I just don't think it's right. We want to win for the city. It would be terrific. But that is not anything I'm going to use in a press conference or with our players. We should want to win because we want to win."

Especially against the Knicks in the playoffs.

There's no sugar coating the fact that Friday's Game 3 matchup will likely determine if the Celtics' first round series is over or not.

No team in NBA history has rallied to win a best-of-seven series after losing the first three games.

"We have to go out and play like a desperate team with a huge sense of urgency," said Paul Pierce who added, "because Game 3 right now, our season is definitely on the line."