Hustle. Heart. Focus.
This is what the Celtics need from each and every player for the rest of this series. They're down 2-0 and there is no more room for errors. Absolutely none.
I really thought that the Celtics would be able to "flip the switch" now that it's the playoffs, but it looks like the bad habits they developed over the course of the season have caught up with them. Bad passes, failure to get rebounds, and an over-reliance on Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce to make things happen has led to the current situation that they're in.
The way I see it right now is that the Celtics have cruised into this series with the same regular season mentality. This is NOT the Knicks team of previous seasons. Carmelo Anthony and team are on a mission, and you can see it in their eyes. You can see the hustle, heart, and focus. Do the Celtics have it in them? Can they match the Knicks' energy and intensity? We've seen glimpses of it during games 1 and 2, but we need to see it on every play and possession.
We need to see more of Jeff Green's greatness. We need more Jason Terry's 3-point shooting. We need more rebounds and aggressive defense from Brandon Bass. Most of all, we need more acrobatic shots from Jordan Crawford. Bottom line: We need more from everybody. We need to see the same team basketball full of hustle, heart and focus like that joyful/heartbreaking Sunday without Rajon Rondo when they rallied together to win against the Heat.
Hopefully things will change this Friday when they get to play in front of the home crowd. A little home cooking always seems to do the players good. Also, they should have this video on loop in the locker room before the game...
I've always believed that basketball is 10% physical and 90% mental, but it's also 1000% HEART. Let's see if the Celtics will show us theirs on Friday night.
Maria also blogs over at Team-Basketball.com. Follow her on Twitter: @teambasketball
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