Boston Celtics

Celtics look to make Game 7 history

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Celtics look to make Game 7 history

MIAMI The list of accomplishments by the Boston Celtics' Big Three is lengthy, but there is one thing they've yet to do - win a Game 7 on the road.

In fact, the most storied franchise in the NBA has only achieved that feat three times with the most recent occurrence being in 1974.

A chance to rewrite history.

A chance to add yet another chapter to what has been a page-turner of a season for this veteran, battle-tested Celtics team.

It all brings us to this point.

Game 7.

In Miami.

The winner goes on.

The loser goes home.

"It's what you dream about," said Heat forward Udonis Haslem. "It's going to be a battle. It's going to be the toughest game we've had all playoffs and we've got to be ready for it."

Win or lose, the Celtics will be boarding a plane after Saturday's game.

It's just a matter of whether it'll be to Oklahoma City for the start of the NBA Finals, or back to Boston following a season-ending loss.

"It's Game 7 it's a win or go home," said Boston's Mickael Pietrus. "I'm not interested in going fishing. I'm not a big fishing guy; I'm more of an OKC guy."

Pietrus, in his first year with the Celtics, is the only player to have emerged victorious on the road in a series-clinching Game 7.

He did so as a member of the Orlando Magic in 2009, when they handed the Kevin Garnett-less Celtics a 101-82 defeat on the Garden floor.

In that game, Pietrus had a then-career playoff high 17 points.

The Celtics are one of just two teams to have lost more than one Game 7 at home since 2000.

The other team?

That would be the Miami Heat, which dropped an 88-82 Game 7 loss at home to Detroit in 2005, and suffered an 83-82 Game 7 home defeat to New York in 2000.

And that last loss to the Pistons was in the Eastern Conference finals - the exact scenario facing the Heat on Saturday.

While history may at times be an indicator of present or future results, all bets are off in this series.

After both teams held serve at home through the first four games, Games 5 and 6 were won by the road team.

"Whatever it takes," said Heat coach Erik Spoelstra. "This is an unconventional series."

Which is why despite a punch-to-the-gut loss at home in Game 6, the Celtics come into this decisive Game 7 with the confidence that they can add another first to the list of accomplishments during the Big Three era - win a Game 7 on the road.

"Adversity has been our theme (all season)," said Celtics guard Keyon Dooling, who was a member of the Miami Heat team that lost Game 7 at home to Detroit in 2005. "We're confident and we feel like we can win in Miami. We know it's going to take a team effort. It's going to take a lot of aggressiveness, and we just have to go out there and grind it out the way we know we are capable of."

Hayward opens up about disappointment of losing Isaiah Thomas

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Hayward opens up about disappointment of losing Isaiah Thomas

Gordon Hayward wanted to go to Boston to play with Isaiah Thomas.

Of course, that's not going to happen. The Celtics traded Thomas to the Cleveland Cavaliers in a package for Kyrie Irving. Hayward explained what it was like for him to learn he and Thomas would not get the chance to hit the court together in Celtics' green.

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"My first reaction was to text I.T., and wish him the best," Hayward wrote in a blog post which he published Thursday. "That was a really strange moment because I’d really been looking forward to playing with him. He didn’t just help recruit me to Boston—he was a big piece of that recruitment. He had talked a lot about city and how it was different to be a Celtic. He talked about the intensity of playing in the Eastern Conference Finals, playing at the Garden in the playoffs, and how much fun it was, and how much fun he had playing in Boston.

"All of that ultimately helped win me over. And by the time of the trade, I had already started to build a little bit of a relationship with him.

"But that is just how the business works. I have spent enough years in the NBA to realize that things can change like that, in an instant. Still, even though we didn’t necessarily get to be teammates, I’m definitely going to be watching him as a fan. In this league, I think we are all rooting for each other in some way or another—just to try to stay healthy, to try to be the best we can be."

Hayward may be genuine about rooting for Thomas -- except perhaps when he faces off against the Cavaliers in the season-opener on Oct. 17 at Quicken Loans Arena. Thomas is uncertain to play due to a hip injury. But the two teams are expected to see each other in the Eastern Conference Finals again after the 2017-18 season. This preview will be an opportunity for Thomas and Irving to get their first shot at revenge against their previous team.

The trade wasn't all bad for Hayward, he explained. He was pleased at the prospect of playing with Irving. Hayward cited Irving's abilities in 1-on-1 situations and clutch moments. He appreciated Irving's scoring ability, because Hayward knows the point guard will open up space for Hayward to knock down open shots. Above all, Hayward seemed to value Irving's unique experience.

"And then getting a chance to play with LeBron James, and going to the Finals three straight years—those are experiences that are invaluable and that you really can’t teach," Hayward wrote. "Having that experience of playing in those big moments, dealing with the circus of the media, dealing with expectations, those are all things that I think he can help us with. Because most of us, myself especially, have never been through that."

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