Marcus Morris and teammates react on the sidelines during Game 2. (Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
BOSTON (WBZ-AM) -- Celtics are used to being picked against. Many chose the Bucks, most favored the Sixers, and virtually everyone assumed the Cavaliers would be the ones to send the plucky-overachievers home. Heck, they've got LeBron James!
But, there's something special going on. No Kyrie Irving, no Gordon Hayward--but plenty of heart, spirit, and grit have carried the Green to a 2-0 East finals lead.
A message from coach Brad Stevens that resonates through the locker room each day and every play: Work.
Al Horford said that's Boston's DNA.
"We just play hard," he said. "We go out there, we compete. It's Celtics basketball. We're really embracing Celtics basketball. Playing hard, we got each others' backs, and that's it."
Marcus Smart Is Winner, Difference-Maker For Celtics
Stevens said balance and trust are key.
"You feel comfortable going to every one of those guys with the game on the line, and then some," he said. "Obviously we've gone to Tatum, we've gone to Morris, we've gone to Smart. You feel good about all of those guys as guys that can make plays in big moments."
Is LeBron worried?
"I think I'll be fine, I'm not going to lose sleep over it," James said. "You go out and you lay everything on the line. At the end of the day, you can live with that. I'll re-calibrate as far as how I can help this team continue to be successful, how I can do some things to make us be even more complete."
Game 3 is Saturday in Cleveland.
WBZ NewsRadio 1030's Adam Kaufman reports