Jaylen details C's coming together before Game 4 win vs. Heat originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston
Down 3-0 to the Miami Heat in the Eastern Conference Finals while rumors swirled about a "disconnect" in the locker room, the Boston Celtics easily could have packed it in during Tuesday night's Game 4.
Instead, they responded with a strong performance that will bring the series back to TD Garden on Thursday night. They avoided a sweep with a 116-99 win in which they shot 52.2 percent from the field and played some of their best defense in recent memory.
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So what changed?
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According to Jaylen Brown, the players made an effort to connect with each other ahead of the do-or-die showdown.
"Just coming together. Talking it out," Brown said after Tuesday's victory. "A lot of times when you get to this point, down 3-0, you see locker rooms and teams start to go in the other direction. We wanted to make sure that we stayed together. We wanted to make sure that we looked each other in the eye, and came out today and put our best foot forward.
"And I'm proud of our group for doing that. Because you see teams with their back against the wall and you see they just collapse. You didn't see that tonight. You seen us come together, you seen us play defense, you seen us make the right plays. And I feel like that shows a lot about our character, especially in a game where everything is on the line and everything has went wrong in the last couple of games."
Brown acknowledged the unflattering reports and rumors that have surrounded the team in recent days. For the Celtics, the focus during their team get-together was to ignore the noise and stay together as a unit heading into what could have been the final game of their 2022-23 season.
"Obviously, we underperformed in the last three games and you start to hear all these stories coming out about X, Y and Z," Brown said. "Who knows where they actually come from. And 99 percent of them aren't true at all. So we wanted to stay together, and I think that was the emphasis last night, was make sure we was on the same page.
"We didn't want to come out and lay an egg. We wanted to come out and play together. We wanted to come out and trust each other, come out and play some defense. Have some pride about yourself and find a way to win a game. We're all more than capable of doing it, so tonight we got it done."
While Brown declined to expand on what the Celtics' team outing entailed, our Chris Forsberg reports the C's spent time together at Topgolf following their afternoon film session on Monday.
The Celtics are still three wins away from pulling off what no NBA team has done -- a comeback from down 0-3 in a playoff series. They'll hope to carry momentum from their Game 4 performance back to Boston for Game 5 on Thursday.
You can watch Brown's postgame press conference in its entirety below.