The Celtics will look to impose their will on the Golden State Warriors when the teams face off in Boston for Game 3 of what has been a bruising NBA Finals.
Game 1 went to the Celtics after they used their superior size to stage a furious fourth-quarter comeback before the Warriors and forward Draymond Green countered with more physical play of their own in a Game 2 blowout that leveled the series.
“You respond to fire with fire, right?” Celtics guard Marcus Smart told reporters in Boston on Tuesday.
“We’ve just got to turn around and do the same thing. If he’s going to come in here and try to be physical, this is our house and we’ve got to protect it.”
Smart, who won this year’s Defensive Player of the Year Award, said he expected a slugfest in Game 3 on Wednesday, June 8 (Thursday, June 9, Manila time).
“You get hit in the mouth like that, there’s only one way to respond, and if you’re not really ready to do that, then you don’t need to be on this stage,” he said.
“This is a stage where we’ve got to be willing to risk it all out there for your team and for the victory.”
Warriors coach Steve Kerr said his squad would be prepared for a physical contest at TD Garden.
“I would expect tomorrow to be really competitive right from the start,” Kerr said.
“We know they’re going to bring a level of physicality that we brought last game. We’ve got to be prepared for that. I think it should be a great game.”
Green said he had no intention of letting up after his play at times resembled that of an NFL lineman in Game 2.
The versatile heart of the team’s defense stuffed the stat sheet with 9 points, 5 rebounds, and 7 assists to go along with his fourth technical foul of the postseason.
“I wouldn’t be able to live with myself if I’m going on about my summer and we lost the NBA Finals because we couldn’t meet force with force,” Green said.
“That is my department. That’s where I’m supposed to lead, and I can’t let my guys down.”