BOSTON (AFP) – Boston’s backs are against the wall heading into Game 6 of the NBA Finals, but Celtics star Jaylen Brown vowed they won’t back down against the Golden State Warriors.
“We’re looking forward to the challenge,” Brown said Wednesday. “We’ve got to embrace it. Ain’t no other way around it. Last game on our home floor to kind of embody our whole season.
“We’re looking to give it everything we’ve got. We are not scared. We do not fear the Golden State Warriors. We want to come out and play the best version of basketball that we can.”
The Warriors moved one win away from their fourth title in eight years with a 104-94 victory in game five in San Francisco on Monday.
Warriors star Stephen Curry had a rare off-night but former No. 1 draft pick Andrew Wiggins came up big on both ends of the court, pouring in 26 points, grabbing 13 rebounds and coming up with two steals and a block as Golden State took a 3-2 series lead.
The Celtics, meanwhile, coughed up 18 turnovers, something they can’t afford to do on Thursday if they want to force a decisive game seven back in California.
Brown said Boston’s rocky start to the season will stand the team in good stead now as they try to bounce back from two straight defeats.
“Everything has been a learning experience,” Brown said of a season that saw the Celtics languishing under .500 at the halfway point.
“We wear everything that we learned this year as a badge of honor,” Brown said. “We don’t let it hang over our heads. We bounce back. We’ve been able to respond well all year.”
Teammate Marcus Smart, the defensive player of the year, echoed those sentiments.
“We’ve kind of been forced to play with our backs against the wall,” Smart said. “We got real used to it where it’s kind of part of us, in our nature now. It’s nothing new to us. It’s another game. It’s another tough game.”
Smart said it won’t take a revolutionary plan to stop Curry and Co, but an attention to detail.
“We all know deep in this run and in this game when you are going up against some of the greats, the margin of error is very small,” he said.
While the Celtics are chasing a record-setting 18th NBA title for the franchise, none of the current players had appeared in the Finals before.
Nevertheless, Brown said there’s no doubt among the Celtics that they can force game seven.
“We have all the belief in ourselves,” he said. “We’re going to come out and leave it all out there. That’s the whole intent.”