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Celtics, Sun Continue Playoff Runs This Weekend

Jonquel Jones of the Connecticut Sun.
Frankie Graziano
Connecticut Public Radio
Connecticut Sun All-Star center Jonquel Jones decided to sit out the 2020 WNBA season due to COVID-19 concerns.

It’s a big weekend for playoff basketball in New England.

The Connecticut Sun take on the Las Vegas Aces in the WNBA semifinals, which begin Sunday, and the Boston Celtics are looking to get back in their series with the Miami Heat in the NBA Eastern Conference finals this weekend.

The Celtics dropped the first two games in that best-of-seven series. Gary Washburn is the national NBA writer for The Boston Globe. To get back in the series, Washburn said the Celtics have to play a complete game.

Gary Washburn, The Boston Globe: They've been playing three-fourths of a game and they've been playing pretty well for the most part, but there's just been some slippage in one quarter. In Game Two, they outscored Miami in three of the four quarters. But the other quarter, they got outscored by 20 points.

So you've got to finish these games. This is the playoffs. Teams are not going to give up. They're not going to throw in the towel. They're not going to let you just win. They're going to keep trying. And so even though you build a 15-point lead, 18-point lead, something like that, you got to finish them off. And the Celtics for two games now have built double digit leads in the second half and have lost them.

Michael Lyle, Jr., NEPM: You reported that emotions boiled over after the Game Two loss. The Celtics' locker room imploded. Some players were screaming. Others were very vocal about their performance. So now that the team has a day to cool off and get ready for Game Three, what is their mindset as they head into this critical contest?

I think they just got to be like it's a must-win game. No team has ever come back from being down 0-3. So history is not on their side if they lose. They realize you have to take one game at a time.

They’ll watch some film on their day off and meet. They're not going to practice and they're not going to get on the floor unless they want to voluntarily.  Maybe cooler heads will prevail after a good night's sleep and try to just come together and figure out what they are doing wrong in these key stretches and why Miami is taking the game away.

The Connecticut Sun are on to the semifinals after a huge win over the Los Angeles Sparks in the second round of the WNBA playoffs. The Sun lost their first five games of the season, but they went on a run to get that seventh seed. They're doing all this without one of their star players in Jonquel Jones. She opted out of the season and the Sun are still playing very well without her. Now they play the top seeded Las Vegas Aces in a best-of-five series. What's the key for the Sun to pull off another upset and get back to the WNBA Finals?

Take one game at a time. Just try to get Game One and try to figure out how to get Game Two. Just play your game at your pace.

Las Vegas likes to run up the floor. Coach Bill Laimbeer's team has a lot of talent. They feel like they could have won the championship a couple of years ago. I think if you're the Sun, you're not happy to be here, but you're feeling like, "Hey, we're not supposed to be here. Let's just try to play hard and see what we can do. Let's see how far we can take this."

Michael Lyle Jr. joined the New England Public Media news team in early 2019.
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