Originally posted on Celtics Town  |  Last updated 5/18/12
Eastern-conference


The Boston Celtics entered Game 3 looking to make a statement. Kevin Garnett gathered his teammates to remind them of Ubuntu, Rajon Rondo smiled not during pregame shootaround and Paul Pierce screamed gutturally after almost every possession. But now the statement has been made. Philadelphia no longer possesses any feeling of overconfidence. The Celtics waltzed into the Wells Fargo Center and landed a knockout crane kick to the Sixers’ collective jaw.

The next challenge for the Celtics is bringing that same mentality again for Game 4. (CSNNE)

“We won the first one and now we have another one,” Rivers said. “The key is to keep our focus and play the way we played, with the same energy and not play like, ‘You won one. Now you can relax.’ ”

“We won Game 1, but there was almost a sense that we stole it from them,” Allen said. “And in Game 2, we kicked ourselves because we feel we should have won that one. After those two games, [the Sixers are] looking at it like, ‘Hey, we’re supposed to be up 2-0′ and we’re going to our home floor.’ [Game 3] was evident if we played convincingly the way we did last night, in the first two games, there would have been a different feeling around the series but it’s not. We have to take Game Three and produce that same feeling, that same effect in Game Four.”

Yes, the Celtics operated on a different level during Game 3 and made a statement that they’re a superior team. Yes, they could lose Game 4 and still return to the TD Garden with home court advantage. But this isn’t about just squeaking by the Philadelphia 76ers and advancing to the Eastern Conference Finals. A greater goal rests beyond the horizon. This is about the Celtics giving themselves the best chance moving forward.

Paul Pierce, regardless of how hard he attacked the rim in Game 3, needs to rest his sprained MCL. Ray Allen, who mustered just one shot attempt in Game 3, desperately needs a little time off that injured ankle. Kevin Garnett, as beautifully as he’s played, turns 36 years old tomorrow and could use some R & R. And Avery Bradley’s shoulder just called. It said it might stop popping out so goddamn much if it had a little time to strengthen.

The other Eastern Conference Semifinals is shaping up to be a long series. If the Celtics can end things with the Sixers early — and I know this is skipping a few steps on the ladder — they could have some time to catch their breath and heal their bodies.

MORE FROM YARDBARKER:
Is Anthony Davis really the best big man from UK in the NBA?
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

UFC 205 headlined by Conor McGregor vs. Eddie Alvarez

Greg Hardy told police someone slipped cocaine in his wallet

Report: LSU will ‘gauge the interest’ of Saban, Meyer, others

Dustin Byfuglien didn’t enjoy the World Cup of Hockey

Marlins’ Dee Gordon emotional after lead-off HR

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Patrice Bergeron’s worries go away with Brad Marchand’s contract signed

Report: Gabbert in danger of losing starting job to Kaepernick

John Fox won't commit to Cutler as starter when healthy

Report: Austin Sefarian-Jenkins claimed by Jets off waivers

Dez Bryant to undergo MRI after suffering knee injury

Report: Adrian Peterson determined to play again in 2016

What the NBA (and world) looked like before Kevin Garnett, Kobe Bryant and Tim Duncan

A fond farewell to Vin Scully

So where will the ACC football championship be played?

Gordon: Hitting HR for Fernandez ‘best moment of my life’

Box Score: 9/27 - Goodbyes, farewells and hurdles

Kevin Garnett's unique career proves anything is possible

Jose Fernandez joins tragic list of premature departures

15 greatest calls of Vin Scully's career

Ten NFL early-season studs and duds

Week 4 in college football as explained by Queen

The good, bad, and ugly from Week 3 in the NFL season

LeBron supports Kaepernick but will stand for national anthem

NBA News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

What the NBA (and world) looked like before Kevin Garnett, Kobe Bryant and Tim Duncan

A fond farewell to Vin Scully

So where will the ACC football championship be played?

Kevin Garnett's unique NBA career proves anything is possible

Jose Fernandez joins tragic list of premature departures

Week 4 in college football as explained by Queen

The good, bad, and ugly from Week 3 in the NFL season

Where does Landon Donovan's return rank?

WATCH: What are the best WR-CB rivalries of all-time?

Bill Belichick may be forced to get hilariously creative to fill his quarterback slot

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker