WALTHAM — For Jason Terry and the Celtics offense, the hope is that Sunday’s Game 4 is a sign that the fuse has been lit.
The veteran point guard was asked before Tuesday’s practice if his 18-point performance on Sunday in Game 4 – which included a season-saving 9-0 run at the end of overtime – is a sign that his offensive game is coming around at the right time.
“I’m just feeding off the fact that I don’t want to go home right now,” Terry said. “I feel like we have a lot of basketball left with this particular group. If we win, we get another opportunity to come back here and play another game.
“We just know that if we can score 90-plus points, we’re going to have an opportunity to win. We’ve doing a decent job defensively of holding them under their season average but offensively, we’ve struggled. We started to get a little bit of a breakthrough the last game. Hopefully, the floodgates will open and we’ll have one of those performances.”
Indeed, the Celtics scored 97 points in Sunday’s 97-90 Game 4 win, though they needed 53 minutes to reach that figure.
“It’s just staying persistent, staying in the moment and knowing every possession is critical,” Terry said. “You can’t turn the ball over. That’s been a struggle for us this series. If we don’t turn it over, we stay persistent and keep defending the way we are, we’re going to have a great chance shot to win the game.”
Is that Terry’s veteran message to other Celtics?
“This is what I’m saying,” Terry said. “This is my approach. If it feeds on to them, hopefully, it does. If it doesn’t, I still have to go out and play like that for myself to be right.”
Of course, Game 5 in New York will be a hostile environment. Some – like Kenyon Martin predicted on Monday – might call it a funeral for the Celtics season. It was Martin who suggested everyone at Madison Square Garden wear black for the occasion.
“So, I thought they wore that last game, too,” Terry quipped. “For us, it doesn’t change. Whether they wear white, pink, blue, black, green, it’s Game 7 for us. So, we know what mindset we have to be in. You lose, you’re going home.
“We really don’t care how they’re going to be. It’s more about us and how we approach the game. Whoever’s in uniform for them, so be it. We have to come out [strong]. It’s [like] Game 7. It’s every possession, it’s every shot, every defensive stop. It means that much. If you come in with that approach, you’re going to put yourself in a position to win.”
Is the pressure on New York to put the Celtics away?
“I don’t know what the pressure is,” Terry said. “The pressure is on us. We don’t want to go home. I don’t want to go home. That’s where it’s at.”
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