The Celtics hope to even out their series with the Brooklyn Nets tonight and they'll be getting an extra boost as fans return to TD Garden in full force.
Capacity restrictions lifted in Massachusetts on Saturday, allowing for venues including TD Garden to return to full capacity.
Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker's original four-phased reopening plan called for stadiums and arenas to return to capacity in August. But due to increased COVID-19 vaccinations and steady decline in cases and deaths, Baker accelerated parts of his phased reopening.
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Closer to 17,000 fans are expected to be seated for Game 4 on Saturday, a huge increase from the 5,000 who were there for Friday night's game.
Celtics Coach Brad Stevens said the fans present makes a difference to the team.
"There's a reason why people play for home court all year," Stevens said.
The pandemic pushed the NBA into a bubble at first and then empty arenas later. But fans now returning in time to catch the playoffs will give the players are higher intensity feel for the game, said Stevens.
"I'm thankful that they get the chance to experience what the playoffs are like and what the environments are like," he said.
Celtics trail the Nets 2 to 1, so they face a must win situation.
Player Evan Fournier said he was impressed with the noise in the Garden on Friday and agrees fans add a needed element to the game.
"I think home court advantage is big for that reason," he said. "You play in front of your fans and really getting a boost and shooting off the fans. Its real, you know. Its a thing."