We don’t need to relive Wednesday night. It was painful. It was frustrating. But honestly, did you expect this series to go any other way? The Boston Celtics lost a heartbreaker in double overtime of game six of the Eastern Conference Semifinals against the Toronto Raptors, 125-122. The series is tied at three games a piece and it all comes down to tonight.
So what needs to happen in game 7 in order to advance to the Eastern Conference Finals? Let’s dive right in!
Kemba Walker Needs to be BIG
To say that Kemba Walker had a stinker in game six is an understatement. Walker finished the night with five points. Yes, FIVE points, along with seven assists and four rebounds. That’s not what you need to do as a point guard getting a max contract. Walker even acknowledged that he has to be better in game seven. Fiesta said it perfectly in his article here. Kemba needs to be the leader everyone loves him to be; accountable and productive. If he has another dud game, it’s going to be extremely tough for the Celtics to come out on top tonight.
Containing Kyle Lowry
I’m just going to get this out now. *Takes deep breath in and exhales out slowly* I CAN’T STAND Kyle Lowry! The consistent whining of calls this guy complains about is sickening. But numbers never lie, Lowry’s been a pain in the Celtics side. 33 points in game 6, 22 in game 4, 31 in game 3. Yeah, the Celtics need to contain this guy. Marcus Smart is going to be having his hands full with Pascal Siakam. Most of the assignments for Lowry are going to fall on Kemba and Brad Wanamaker. If you can keep Lowry contained to 15-20 max, that’s fine. Try to let guys like Marc Gasol, Serge Ibaka, Fred Van Fleet, and Norman Powell beat you. Don’t let Lowry be the one to hit any more clutch shots.
Come Out with High Energy
Jaylen Brown, Marcus Smart, and Jayson Tatum have played in game sevens before. They know what it takes to come out on top from past failures. Plain and simple, don’t let the Raptors throw the first punch. Come out like you did in game one and five and you’ll be fine.
I don’t know if it’s just me, but does anyone have a clue with what’s going on with Jayson Tatum? Credit the Raptors, they have a solid game plan to stop him from getting easy baskets. But the late game turnovers? Nick Nurse on the court or not, you have to be smarter in crunch time. Be the Tatum that you’ve been the entire season in game seven tonight and we’ll be in business.
I’m nervous as can be for tonight. 9 PM is too far away right now. Do I think the Celtics should’ve finished this series on Wednesday? Yes. Am I going to puke thinking about tonight? Probably yes. But let’s see what happens. Play the game and hopefully we’ll be talking about an Eastern Conference Finals appearance all weekend before the Pats Sunday. If not, it’s going to be a long offseason of “What if?”
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-Al Nahigian (@BigAl2793)
Feat. Image courtesy of nbcsports.com/