BOSTON - The Celtics haven't put up much of a fight in losing the first three games of their best-of-seven series against the Knicks.
But they are angry going into Sunday's Game 4.
Angry at the Knicks for celebrating their highlight-reel plays in Friday night's 90-76 Game 3 victory at TD Garden. Angry at J.R. Smith for elbowing Jason Terry in the fourth quarter. (Smith was ejected.)
And angry at themselves for not making the Knicks truly sweat in any of the games.
"It was quiet in the locker room [after Game 3]," guard Avery Bradley told reporters Saturday at practice in Waltham, Mass. "Everybody was real mad. Nobody was saying anything. Usually Doc [Rivers] talks and then [Kevin Garnett] and those guys talk to keep us all level, let us know that we've got to continue playing hard. But after the game, everybody was quiet and pretty mad."
Bradley, who has been torched by the Knicks' point guards all series, said the Celtics were not pleased with the Knicks for "showboating" in the waning minutes of Game 3.
"That's what made us so mad, so angry," he said. "We've just got to go out there and play the right way. We've got to not let that happen again. After the game, somebody said it right after we got in the locker room: 'They're showboating and they're dunking,' and everybody kind of looked like, 'You're right.' But all we can do is go out there and play the right way and play hard and don't give them a chance to showboat at all."
Then there was Smith's elbow. Terry was so angry, he wanted to fight Smith before being restrained by Rivers.
Terry didn't talk to reporters after the game. On Saturday, he offered two "no comments" when asked about the play.
Asked about Game 4, he said: "When you get your butt kicked like they've been doing to us the last week or so and you're seeing the same team every day, you're going to get tired of it, or you're going to lay down. I'm tired of it . . . I'm coming out with something. I'm going to come out with the heart, the passion, the energy that's needed to get a win. We have to do that collectively. One man's not going to be able to provide that. It has to be a collective unit and we've got to get it done together."
Rivers said he doesn't think the Smith play is the spark the Celtics need to get a win Sunday.
"I hope it doesn't take that," he said. "Really, what is it going to do? Get us mad?"
Apparently, it did. But it's going to take three wins to get them even, and there has been no indication that the Celtics are up to that task.
"We've just got to fight harder than what we've been doing," Terry said. "I mean, they're outworking us. You can see it on the tape. Their energy is much better than ours. Offensively, their offense is running much more fluid and smooth, and they know what they want to do. They're very determined. The only way we can deter them is to come out and fight and be aggressive. I have no doubt in my mind that we've got fight in us."