After the Celtics fell into a 3–0 hole against the Heat in the Eastern Conference finals, one that the team nearly dug itself out of, team governor Wyc Grousbeck issued a fiery challenge to the roster ahead of Game 4.
Per a report from Jared Weiss of The Athletic, Grousbeck went into the locker room and told the players they needed to “play with some balls” which left the players and coaching staff stunned.
Celtics veteran Blake Griffin confirmed the report, and told The Athletic that Grousbeck, who is widely respected by the players and coaches alike, was right.
“[Grousbeck] was right, but we shouldn’t need that,” Griffin said. “As soon as we got to the locker room, we were just so frustrated.”
The Celtics looked primed for a sweep after the 128–102 loss in Miami, after which many fans and observers believed that the team looked like it quit. However, Boston had plenty of fight left in it, winning the next three games to force an improbable Game 7 at home. The Celtics had an opportunity to make history as the first NBA team to come back from a 3–0 playoff deficit, but a Jayson Tatum rolled ankle and poor shooting outing doomed Boston in Game 7.
The Heat will now face Denver in the NBA Finals, which begins on Thursday night.