Celtics notebook

Celtics inspired by 2004 Red Sox

 Things are looking up for Doc Rivers’s Celtics after two straight wins over the Knicks. As for overcoming a 3-0 series deficit? “I really want to be part of that,” Rivers said.
jim davis/globe staff
Things are looking up for Doc Rivers’s Celtics after two straight wins over the Knicks. As for overcoming a 3-0 series deficit? “I really want to be part of that,” Rivers said.

The tweet landed Wednesday night, about an hour after the Celtics-Knicks playoff game had tipped off in New York.

“Here’s how it really goes,” it began. “Don’t let us win 2nite cuz if we do we got Pedro GM5 Schilling GM6 and anything can happen GM7” #2004 #Celtics?”

The author was Kevin Millar, the former Red Sox infielder who prophetically called for the Sox to rebound from a 3-0 series deficit in the 2004 American League Championship Series against the New York Yankees. Which they did.


And after the Celtics won their second straight game in their first-round playoff series against the Knicks, they moved to within two wins of repeating what their baseball brethren did.

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Game 6 is Friday at TD Garden. The Celtics trail the series, 3-2. No NBA team has overcome a 3-0 series deficit.

In fact, entering this postseason, only 10 of the 103 teams that fell behind, 3-0, have even forced a Game 6, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.

And only three of those 103 teams have forced a Game 7. The last team to do so was the 2003 Trail Blazers against the Mavericks.

That said, before the Celtics won Game 5, Doc Rivers said some team was bound to come back from a 3-0 deficit and win a series.


“I want it to be us,” the coach said. “I really want to be part of that.”

Following their win, the comparisons to the 2004 Red Sox, which had already gained steam after their Game 4 win, started to pick up even more — and it helped that the Celtics were also facing a bitter rival from New York.

“CELTS AIM TO SOX KNICKS,” read a heading in the New York Daily News. “HALFWAY TO HELL” read one in the New York Post.

“I’ve seen it,” Jason Terry told reporters after the game, speaking of the Sox comeback. “It was tremendous. Papi [David Ortiz] is a neighbor. I’m very familiar with what they did and the history they made.

“Is it a motivating factor for us?” Terry asked. “It helps, but that alone is not going to help us win the series.”


ESPN analyst Curt Schilling, a member of the 2004 Sox, discussed the parallels of the two series, and the challenge of coming back from being three games down on “SportsCenter.’’

“There’s no way both teams aren’t going out on the floor for Game 6 knowing exactly what we’re all thinking,” Schilling said.

“New York is saying ‘Oh my God, we cannot choke this away’, and Boston’s like ‘Wow this would be fun.’ And they’re two completely different mind-sets, not to mention they make you different physically and that’s a big deal.”

Schilling had a simple message for the Celtics:

“Just focus, focus on the trip up the court, nothing more. Nothing but that trip down the floor matters, and you do it one at a time.”

He also had a message for the Knicks, whose guard, J.R. Smith, said the series would’ve been over and he would’ve been golfing had he played in Game 4 instead of being suspended for a hard foul.

Said Schilling: “Good luck golfing this [summer].”

For reference, the Knicks lost four straight games twice during the regular season.

Pitch perfect

According to Elias, the Celtics are the first team in NBA history to have two perfect games from the free throw line in one postseason — let alone one series. Boston made all 17 of its free throws in Game 5 and made all 19 in Game 1 . . . Kevin Garnett is leading the playoffs with 14.4 rebounds per game.

Baxter Holmes can be reached at Follow him on Twitter at @BaxterHolmes