Celtics allude to Red Sox comeback with season on brink: 'Don't let us get one'
Some Celtics players are taking inspiration from an iconic resurgence in Boston sports history as they try to become the first NBA team to come back from being down 0-3 in a series.
"Feel very good about tonight," Marcus Smart told reporters ahead of Tuesday's Game 4 against the Miami Heat, courtesy of NBC Sports. "Don't let us get one. ... Just don't let us get this one."
When Smart was asked whether he was referencing former Boston Red Sox player Kevin Millar, the longtime Celtics guard smiled.
"There you go," Smart said. "Big time, baby."
Millar was a member of the 2004 Red Sox, who stormed back from a 0-3 deficit in the American League Championship Series to defeat the New York Yankees in seven games. It remains the first and only instance of an MLB club successfully coming back from being 0-3 in a playoff series. The Red Sox went on to win the World Series over the St. Louis Cardinals, capturing their first title since 1918.
Millar was an influential part of Boston's rally. Prior to Game 4, he repeatedly told reporters and teammates, "Don't let us win today." In the ninth inning with the Yankees three outs from advancing, Millar drew a leadoff walk against Hall of Fame closer Mariano Rivera and was then removed for pinch runner Dave Roberts, who ended up scoring to tie the game. The Red Sox won Game 4 in extra innings.
"Don't let us win tonight, 'cause that's our mindset," Celtics star Jaylen Brown added Tuesday. "You let us get one, we feel confident. So, we're gonna come out and play free, play ready, and it should be fun."
Not only has no NBA team ever won a seven-game series after losing the first three, but in 150 such series, only three teams have forced a Game 7: the 2003 Portland Trail Blazers against the Dallas Mavericks, the 1994 Denver Nuggets against the Utah Jazz, and the 1951 New York Knicks against the Rochester Royals.
However, those three teams were on the road for Game 7; if the Celtics can make it that far, they would have the advantage of playing at home.
Smart expects his side to go all-out in an attempt to rewrite history.
"Same mentality: It's win or go home for us. At this point, we've got nothing to lose," he said. "Just gotta go out there and leave it all out on the floor."
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