Ime Udoka reveals message to Celtics entering Game 6

Ime Udoka’s message to Celtics ahead of Game 6 should give fans hope Originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston

Do the Boston Celtics have the Golden State Warriors where they want them?

The short answer is no; the Celtics would rather not be one victory away from elimination after dropping Game 5 of the 2022 NBA Finals to the Golden State Warriors at Chase Center on Monday night.

The Celtics are a resilient group, however, and have recent experience coming back from 3-2 deficits: they won Game 6 on the road and Game 7 at home in the Eastern Conference Semifinals to dispatch the Milwaukee Bucks.

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After Monday’s loss, Celtics head coach Ime Udoka said he sent a positive message to his squad as they prepare for a must-win Game 6 in Boston on Thursday.

“The message to guys is to be confident going home,” Udoka said. “Rest; let’s get ready to bring him back here.”

Udoka’s squad will need more than confidence on Thursday night. For starters, Boston will have to reduce turnovers: the C’s are 0-6 in the playoffs while committing at least 16 turnovers and allowed the Warriors to score 103 points on turnovers in these NBA Finals, most in a series of finals since 1992.

Boston also can’t afford long hiatuses against a dangerous Warriors team that sealed Game 5 with a 10-0 run early in the fourth quarter.

“For us, it’s really about consistency,” Udoka said. “That’s what we don’t have throughout a full game, it’s constant effort, sustained effort – more offensively than anything. That’s the part where we have to have a carry, no just game to game but quarter to quarter.

There is a silver lining to the Celtics’ shortcomings, however. While the Warriors’ defense deserves credit for forcing Boston into turnovers, most of the Celtics’ injuries were self-inflicted. When the Cs are at their best – strong, decisive ball movement on offense and ferocious defense at the other end – they are more than capable of beating the Warriors, as we saw in Games 1 and 3.

So it will all come down to the Celtics’ execution and self-belief at TD Garden on Thursday night. And it looks like the C’s have the belief part down.

“My faith is higher than it’s ever been before, so I’m looking forward to Game 6,” Jaylen Brown said Monday night.

“We’ve been here before, we’ve done it against Milwaukee,” Udoka added. “Let’s take him back to the bay.

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