Kevin Garnett won't be posting any comments from the 76ers owners on his mental bulletin board. The Philadelphia fans won't be getting all riled up over comments deriding their loyalty.
"It's Game 7. There's no tomorrow," Celtics captain Paul Pierce said before practice on Friday. "If this is not the most important thing to you right now, there is no way to motivate you as a basketball player."
The Celtics and Sixers will play Saturday night for a spot in the Eastern Conference finals, where one of them will face the Miami Heat for the right to play for the NBA title. The 76ers forced the series to a decisive game by beating Boston 82-75 on Wednesday, keeping alive a surprising run that started when they knocked out top-seeded Chicago in the first round.
"I think they're excited about the chance to go in there and have this Game 7 and see what we can do," Philadelphia Coach Doug Collins said. "I don't think we have any fear. I haven't felt that in our guys at all. When we have played poorly, it's not out of being fearful. I think sometimes we don't execute well. That to me has nothing to do with whether or not the guys believe they can do it."
The Sixers have not been to a Game 7 since 2001, and Collins said he was relying on the energy of a young team that has just one 30-year-old, Elton Brand, getting significant playing time. The Celtics, who have three in the starting lineup alone, are 3-2 in seventh games since the new Big Three was assembled in 2007.
Brand said his younger teammates are ready. Philadelphia point guard Jrue Holiday, who called Game 6 the "end of the world," said this would be "The End of the World II."
"They're not scared of the moment at all, which is really good for our team," Brand said. "Some of the older guys are saying, 'Hey, we don't get this opportunity too many times. So let's try to win this game.'"
Around the league
Knicks: One playoff victory was good enough for Mike Woodson to return as New York Knicks coach — even with Phil Jackson lurking as a potential candidate.
Woodson knows more will be asked of him now.
"I know expectations are high and they should be high," Woodson said during a conference call, "and I'm looking forward to the challenge."
Woodson led the Knicks to an 18-6 record after replacing Mike D'Antoni on March 14.
■ Miami Beach police say the Knicks' J.R. Smith has been arrested on a bench warrant for not having a valid driver's license. Sgt. Bobby Hernandez said the 26-year-old was stopped Thursday night on Washington Avenue in South Beach. A routine search revealed the bench warrant and he was arrested.
Heat: The NBA fined Miami Coach Erik Spoelstra $25,000 on Friday for "critical public comments" about officiating in the Eastern Conference series with Indiana.
Spoelstra made the comments before Miami's shootaround Thursday in Indianapolis, hours before the Heat beat the Pacers in Game 6 to win the series. Spoelstra was quoted by several media outlets saying the NBA "does not have a problem" with Indiana committing hard fouls on Heat stars LeBron James and Dwyane Wade.
Spoelstra told reporters he counted more than 12 instances where Heat players were struck in the face by the Pacers this season.
Miami had two players suspended for Game 6 for flagrant fouls. Indiana's Tyler Hansbrough was not suspended for a flagrant foul he committed against Wade, opening a cut over the guard's right eye.