Game 7 is often referred to as the best word in sports. It’s a winner-takes-all showdown that gives legends the chance to cement their place in history. Bill Russell, for example, went 22-0 in the winner-takes-all games of his basketball career, including an incredible 10-0 record in Game 7. However, while it’s a chance for stars to shine, it’s often the role players who make the difference. The Celtics have played seven Game 7s since Marcus Smart and Jaylen Brown joined the team, and Boston is 6-1 in those games. The heroes in those games are rarely the big names. As we approach Sunday’s Game 7 between the Celtics and Sixers at TD Garden, it’s just as likely that a lesser-known figure will emerge as a hero.
The Celtics will benefit from home-court advantage, and their supporting cast tend to perform better at home. In recent playoffs, Boston has struggled to capitalize on this advantage. However, the Celtics have a strong Game 7 record, and they’ll be hoping to add another victory to their tally. The supporting cast will need to step up, and it’s possible that we’ll see a player emerge as a hero that few people expected.
Looking back at the last few Game 7s for the Celtics, it’s clear that the heroes of these games have been unexpected. For example, in 2017, the sweet-shooting big man Kelly Olynyk came off the bench and scored 26 points in 28 minutes. In 2018, Terry Rozier and Eric Bledsoe played an important role for the team, while Marcus Smart took the spotlight in 2020 with his clutch block. In 2022, it was Grant Williams who stepped up when the team needed him.
Sunday’s Game 7 is anyone’s guess. Anything can happen, and every moment is engulfed in madness. The Celtics have a wealth of experience in Game 7, and their supporting cast tend to perform better at home. However, the Sixers will be determined to spoil Boston’s party. It’s sure to be a noisy and challenging environment at TD Garden, and a hero awaits. The Celtics will be hoping that their role players can step up and lead the team to victory once again. Every moment will be fraught with tension, and the team that handles the pressure best will emerge victorious.