The Celtics will win Game 7 of their Eastern Conference Semifinals Monday against Washington at TD Garden because of the home court advantage. The home team has won each of the first six games in this series.
Forget about Boston’s franchise history of success in Game 7s. Yes, the Celtics can boast 21 victories against 8 losses in the last game of a seven-game series. And yes, the Celtics are 18-4 in Game 7s played in Boston.
But those victories belong to Celtics of a bygone era, not this team. They belong to Bill Russell, Bob Cousy, Tom Heinsohn, John Havlicek, Sam Jones, Larry Bird, Kevin McHale and Robert Parish. Russell led the Celtics to a 10-0 record in Game 7s from 1957 to 1969. Since then Boston is 11-8 in the deciding game. The Second Big Three of Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen lost to Miami in Game 7 of the 2012 Eastern Conference Semifinals.
The current Celtics will win because of the parquet floor beneath their sneakers and the 18,624 partisan fans filling the seats around them. Playing this Game 7 at home is their reward for winning seemingly meaningless games in January and February. Had the Celtics lost a few during their slog through the long winter, or if Cleveland had not conceded the best record in the East on the final game of the regular season, the Celts might be playing this one on the road.
Keep this in mind, Celtics fans. The home court and the home crowd won’t mean much unless the Celtics play well. The Wizards are not going to wilt under Game 7 pressure, not after the way they won Game 6 on John Wall’s three-pointer with 3.5 seconds to play. But if Isaiah Thomas, Avery Bradley, Al Horford, Jae Crowder and the rest of the Green can come up with a performance similar to that in their three victories, they will win. Their reward? The Eastern Conference Finals against the Cleveland Cavaliers and Lebron You Know Who.