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Celtics point guard Rajon Rondo wins the battle for the ball during Game 5.On the heels of Boston's gritty win over the Miami Heat in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference finals, Celtics coach Doc Rivers implored his team to keep its foot on the gas pedal despite winning three straight to rally out of a two-game hole and sit one victory away from securing a spot in the NBA Finals.
"I told them, 'We've done nothing,'" said Rivers. "We're playing a heck of a basketball team. So just because we're going to Boston, I told them, we have to play. (The Heat are) not going to give it to us. We have to go get it."
The Celtics have rarely made things easy on themselves this season, but Rivers would certainly prefer if Boston could take care of business Thursday instead of forcing a decisive Game 7 back in Miami on Saturday. The Celtics have all the momentum in this series after topping the Heat on their home floor, showcasing the latest dose of mental resolve resolve by battling through all sorts of ups and downs in Game 5.
"We're just a good team," said Rivers. "A close‑knit team. They talk that way. We have a lot of positive talk in our locker room. A lot. And I think it fuels them. Honestly, they believe they can win, and we just got to keep hanging in there.
Rivers added: "I think I asked a lot of our guys, maybe too much at times, and they came through, and that was terrific."
Heat coach Erik Spoelstra is hoping his team can showcase similar resolve and put this loss behind them.
"It's a loss and that's all it is," he said. "And that's what our focus is right now, is to fight any kind of noise from the outside or any human condition, and to collectively come together strong to prepare for the next game. This is what the playoffs are all about. It tests your collective character and your resolve. And this is the journey that we have to be on right now, for whatever reason."
Added Spoelstra: "It was a tough one to lose here at home, but it's over with. It has to be behind us right now. Our energies have to be ready for Thursday night... We've shown some toughness and some character, and we'll have to show it now on Thursday. That's what this is all about, getting tested. That's individually and collectively. These are the moments where you can have breakthroughs."