The Boston Celtics are in desperate need of a jolt as they return home down 2-0 in their opening round series against the New York Knicks. The Celtics will be in front of their home crowd for the first time since the Boston Marathon bombings in Game 3 on Friday, which means the TD Garden is sure to be rocking despite the series deficit.
But while the Celtics can certainly feed off the energy of the crowd, head coach Doc Rivers told Mark Murphy of the Boston Herald that the team can't rely on that as a sole motivator to win:
"Well, listen, I won't use that," said the Celtics coach. "I can tell you that. I don't do that. I don't use tragedy for sports. I just don't think it's right. We want to win for the city. It would be terrific. But that is not anything I'm going to use in a press conference or with our players. We should want to win because we want to win, and then the rest of the part if we win would be great for the city. It would be. But that's as far as I'll go with it."
Kevin Garnett was willing to give a little more credence to the potential crowd factor, which will most likely have its biggest effects at the outset of the game and potentially down the stretch if it's close:
"The emotion is going to be high," Kevin Garnett said after the Celtics fell into an 0-2 first-round hole with last night's 87-71 loss to the Knicks. "We haven't been home since the current events have happened, so I'm looking forward to going back and getting that home love. Boston, here we come. We're going home, in front of our crowd, and there's going to be a lot more confidence and energy there. We're going to play better."
Getting off to a quick start and keeping the crowd into it would certainly help matters, although it has been the second half that has ultimately doomed the Celtics in Games 1 and 2. After scoring just 25 points in the second half in Game 1, Boston managed only 23 points in the second half in Game 2, shooting just 19.4 percent in the process.
The Celtics' offense has often devolved into stagnant sets with little ball movement and poor execution, which certainly can be attributed to the absence of Rajon Rondo. The energy from the crowd could fuel a more inspired performance, but if the Knicks continue to lock down on defense, it will remain very difficult for the Celtics to score.