Thomas wanted to be legendary at TD Garden, so he studied two guys who were.
“I thought about it a lot,” he said. “All night last night and today I watched 2008 Paul Pierce vs. LeBron and how special that game was. Two superstars going at it, guarding each other. It was a historic game. I definitely did my studying and I knew it was going to be a big-time game tonight. I knew it wasn’t going to be easy at all.”
“We came out on top. That says a lot about the team we are. We believe in each other. We just kept going. The game wasn’t always what we wanted it to be. It wasn’t a perfect game. But we kept going and stayed the course and that was what this team has done all season long. It’s a special moment for us but we only have a little time to celebrate it and gotta focus on the Cavs.”
Ah, yes. That James guy Thomas studied awaits in the next round.
I love that IT spent part of his time Sunday and Monday watching the LeBron/Pierce duel from 2008. Same floor, same uniforms, almost an NBA lifetime ago.
This was IT’s first game 7. It was Olynyk’s first game 7. It was Marcus and Jae and Amir and Jaylen and Rozier’s first game 7.
Heck, this was Brad Stevens’ first game 7.
These ‘all-the-marbles’ games are crazy things. One team’s season is going to end, and that fact just hangs out there, so much so that you can almost touch it. Players get tight, coaches get cautious (Stevens subbed out Thomas for a defender for the final play of the first quarter), and odd stuff happens.
Yeah Thomas did a bit of homework, but there’s no substitute for the real thing, and pretty much the whole team got some valuable experience last night. It may not come in handy against the Cavs, but it will be important down the road. You can’t win a title until you learn how to close out a series, and you won’t learn how to close out a series until you close out a series. The C’s got a dose of the ‘roll-over’ elimination game against Chicago in the first round, but the second round was different. They dang near eliminated the Wizards on Friday, and they finished the job on their second try. That’s all valuable long-term for a team that is still incredibly young and inexperienced.