"Just because we've had less experiences, we really don't dwell on them", Celtics coach Brad Stevens said prior to Tuesday's Eastern Conference Finals Game 2 against Cleveland in Boston.
LeBron James had a tremendous Game 2, finishing with 42 points, 10 rebounds and 12 assists.
Jaylen Brown led the way for the C's in Game 2 with 23 points while Al Horford chipped in 15 points of his own. "We're just out here playing hard and having fun". He finished with 12 assists and 10 rebounds, but also had six turnovers.
James, who managed just 15 points in the Game 1 loss, has won five consecutive East playoff series after losing the series opener. Rodney Hood added 11 points and Jordan Clarkson had 10.
Tuesday's game got physical as the Celtics pulled out all the stops to try and contain James.
"It's like a switch goes off and he just goes out there and plays", Horford said of Rozier after the game. "One day rest, we had to play Cleveland". They acquired Jae Crowder, Ante Zizic, and damaged goods in Isaiah Thomas.
"This year, we were able to close the series out with Philadelphia, have a couple days". After a roster overhaul and two devastating injuries, Boston wasn't expected back in the Eastern Conference Finals for the second year in a row. Cleveland acquired the selection, which originally belonged to the Brooklyn Nets, in the trade that sent Kyrie Irving to Boston last offseason.
Trailing 61-52 after a basket by Love, the Celtics scored seven straight points to make it 61-59, then used a 15-7 spurt to take 74-71 lead, their first of the second half.
But if it does come down to a matter of toughness, the Cavaliers might be in trouble.
Boston led 36-18 after one quarter after going up by as many as 21, matching the biggest first-quarter deficit James has ever faced in a playoff game.
The lead catalyst to Boston's third quarter run?
Smart's 3-pointer with 4:34 left in the third quarter gave the Celtics a 72-71 lead after they had trailed by 11. Boston started Morris in place of Aron Baynes to match up against James. So much so that he tied his playoff career-high for points in a quarter with 21 in the first. Again: They needed to be separated.
"They showed two bodies (guarding James) all night", Cavaliers coach Tyronn Lue said.
They aren't supposed to be here; many people picked them to lose to the Milwaukee Bucks in the opening round.
The Celtics forced James to work harder defensively and rotated several players on the four-time NBA Most Valuable Player to contain him offensively. It will be a different environment out in Cleveland; we will have to wait and see if the Cavs fans can match Beantown's energy and passion. "We all have a role to play, and we all need to play that role as well as we can". Whatever it takes, every player, 1-15, whatever it takes, that's what we're doing. "We had some great shots we couldn't make and it snowballed from there".