Boston Celtics head coach Ime Udoka noted that his players can't allow themselves to make a slow start to Game 7 versus the Miami Heat. The Celtics have played some great basketball throughout the entire playoffs but there were also some disappointing moments.
On Friday night, the Celtics had one of those disappoints moments as they failed to close the series in Game 6 in front of their home fans. The Celtics didn't finish the series in Game 6 in Boston and now they will on the Heat in Game 7 in Miami.
"A lot has to do with our starts and having to play catch-up the whole game," Udoka said when asked what causes the Celtics to lose their poise during games, per ESPN. "We understood the situation Miami was in last night and didn't play our best basketball in the first quarter defensively and offensively.
Playing behind the eight ball most of the game. Although we got the lead late or tied it quite a few times, it felt like we were always in an uphill battle, shooting ourselves in the foot."
Udoka: We need a strong start to Game 7
"We'd like to get off to better starts, put some pressure on the opponent when they're in that situation, similar to what we did against Milwaukee in Game 7.
That's our mindset coming in. Obviously, going into [Miami], we want to start better. We have confidence in going down there winning, too, but we have to get ourselves off to better starts, get ourselves easy baskets and not give them life early in the game," Udoka added.
The Celtics were 2-3 down versus the Milwaukee Bucks in the Eastern Conference Semifinals, before winning two games in a row to set up a series versus the Heat. "We've been a resilient group," Udoka said. "We've overcome a lot of things this year.
Just in general, nothing has been easy, and that's just how the season has gone. It's almost like we have to take the harder route at times and put ourselves in that situation due to some of the things we've done in this series.
"[We] understand the big picture and what's in front of us. We put ourselves in the opportunity to have two games to win one, and have to go finish it down in Miami now."