Celtics say pressure is on Knicks
If anyone's feeling pressure, it's the Knicks.
So say the Boston Celtics, who are in a history-making mood after finally breaking through with a victory in their first-round series against the Knicks.
No team in NBA history has ever come back from a 3-0 deficit in a best-of-seven series, and the Celtics are taking a "why-not-us?" approach following their overtime victory in Game 4 Sunday that staved off elimination.
"We've got nothing to lose," Jeff Green said. "All the pressure is on them to win the game."
Entering this year's postseason, only 10 of the 103 teams that fell behind 3-0 forced a Game 6, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. That's what the Celtics will be trying to do when the series returns to Madison Square Garden for Game 5 Wednesday night, and they realize they have no choice but to embrace the uphill climb.
"This is the position we put ourselves in," Kevin Garnett said. "To continue to play, we've got to continue to win. That's what it's all about."
Elias also said only three of those 103 teams have come back from a 3-0 deficit to reach a seventh game, most recently in 2003 when the Portland Trail Blazers did so against the Dallas Mavericks. But no team has ever broken through.
The Celtics admitted they played with more desperation in Game 4 and they hope it's going to carry over.
"Why it took so long to get this type of intensity level, I don't know," said guard Jason Terry, who scored the Celtics' final nine points in their Game 4 victory. "Maybe there's something special about us this season that says this is the hurdle we must overcome. And we'll see if it's in us."
In order to do so, they need to bottle the defensive intensity they showed in Game 4, especially guarding Carmelo Anthony. Brandon Bass gave the Knicks' leading scorer fits for much of the game, and Green and Paul Pierce also took turns making Anthony's life difficult.
But in Game 5 Anthony will have some extra help on offense as J.R. Smith returns from his one-game suspension, issued for elbowing Terry in the chin toward the end of Game 3.
The Celtics say bring it on.
"We got to come out with the exact same aggression, the exact same thought in mind," Green said. "That's get stops . . . Like you saw, we get stops, we get in transition, we get open threes, we get easy layups. So if we continue to do that it could turn into a wonderful series at the end."