BOSTON — All Brad Stevens has to do is look up at the ceiling and know what Game 7 means.
Asked two hours before Sunday’s Game 7 what the tradition and legacy of the Celtics means in a big-game like this, Stevens said it’s pretty simple.
“Right when you get here, when you get drafted here, traded here or signed as a free agent, you feel it, and that is — and I think more than anything, even when we were not quite as good earlier on when I got here, you still — everyone feels the responsibility to give it your all and to be part of a team,” Stevens said. “And I think that’s a part of playing in Boston, and I think that’s a part of playing underneath those banners as a Celtic.”
Stevens has just one player on the active roster (not including Kyrie Irving) who has been to (and won) the NBA Finals. Aron Baynes made it with the Spurs in 2014 and will start at center again for Game 7. But how will the young players like Jaylen Brown, Jayson Tatum, Terry Rozier and Marcus Smart handle the nerves of a winner-take-all game against LeBron James?
Will there be nerves?
“I’m sure. I’m sure there’s always butterflies before any game, but like I’ve said before, I think our guys are really tough-minded, really focused on the task at hand, know we’ve got a great challenge in front of us,” Stevens said. “But more than anything, looking forward to the challenge. And I think we’ve seen over and over with this group that we have a lot of guys that are built for that, and they’re excited about it, and we’re looking forward to it.”