SAN FRANCISCO — When Celtics co-owner Wyc Grousbeck sees his players at the team hotel or on the court before games, he mostly just says hello and wishes them luck. He has not felt a need to deliver any grander message to the team while it is facing adversity during these NBA playoffs, and that will not change with the Celtics now trailing the Warriors, 3-2, as they return to TD Garden for Game 6 of the Finals Thursday.
But Grousbeck hopes that his presence will speak for him. He wants the Celtics to know that he has their back, and that will not change.
“My message is by sitting there and cheering with [my wife] Emilia,” Grousbeck said by phone from the team plane Tuesday. “[Patriots owner] Robert Kraft will be back with us on Thursday, and we’ll have a special guest next to us, a former Celtic champion.
“And the four of us will be there next to the bench. That’s the message. Here we are. We’re cheering for you, and we’re proud.”
Despite the fact that the Celtics are once again facing elimination — this time against an opponent that knows as well as any what it takes to make the final push to a championship — Grousbeck remained upbeat.
He said the steady hand of first-year coach Ime Udoka has given him even more confidence as this postseason has unfolded, and he has seen enough to believe that the gap between the Celtics and Warriors is not large, and may not even exist at all.
“I feel like we belong,” he said. “I’ve seen us take the lead twice in this series, 1-0 and 2-1, and I saw us fight back [in Game 5] and take a lead. So I’ve seen fight. I’ve seen teamwork.
“I’ve seen guys today who are focused and looking forward to the chance for some redemption with our backs against the wall. We have the kind of team that can win tough games.”
In the conference semifinals against the Bucks, the Celtics won Game 6 in Milwaukee while facing elimination before returning home to TD Garden and winning again. In the conference finals against the Heat, they won Game 7 on the road.
After Monday’s 104-94 loss at Chase Center, Jayson Tatum stressed that the Celtics do not need to win two games at once. The first task is simple: Just win at home in front of a raucous crowd. A victory there would shift some of the pressure back to the Warriors, particularly with the Celtics having won consecutive Game 7s to reach this point.
“We’re going to have to do it again,” Grousbeck said. “It’s do-or-die on Thursday and everybody knows that. I’m looking forward to seeing what we can do.
“I’m really proud of this group, how they’ve come together, how they’ve played, how they’ve been coached. Every game with them is special. I think we’re going to take our best shot on Thursday. We’ll have our home crowd behind us. Ticket demands are flooding in, and the place is going to be absolutely packed.
“The positivity is there and we’re going to be at home and we’re going to be focused. So I’m legitimately really looking forward to it.
“I don’t know how it’s going to turn out, but I do believe in these guys that there will be a great effort. We’ll all be in it together.”