The Boston Celtics wanted a change of scenery so badly they flew to Chicago early enough to take the court at the United Center on Thursday afternoon.
Standing on the Chicago Bulls' home floor, the Celtics talked about facing a desperation Game 3 on Friday, already trailing the first-round playoff series 2-0.
"It's not where we were expecting to be at all," Boston center Al Horford said. "We have an opportunity to come in here tomorrow. I know it's going to be hectic out here. We're all we have, so we're fighting for our lives right now. I'm looking forward to the game."
Guard Avery Bradley suggested a good start for the Celtics would be to play relaxed. They played hard in the first half of Game 2 in Boston but seemed to get flustered late in the contest when the Bulls refused to give up the lead.
"When you're not relaxed, you're not thinking the game as much," Bradley said. "You're just running up and down playing. I feel that's how it was last game, we were trying to get the game back in one shot. As a seasoned team, you've got to understand it's going to take a few execution plays and a few defensive stops that get you back into the game."
The Celtics finished the regular season first in the East but talked about how they've always relished the role of a scrappy underdog. They are certainly facing tough circumstances as the first No. 1 seed to lose the first two games of a playoff series at home to a No. 8 since Phoenix in 1993.
"Our back is against the wall right now," forward Jae Crowder said. "We as a team have played with a chip on our shoulder the whole year, as an underdog. So it will be familiar ground for us to come out with everything going against us, to come out and prevail. So it's good for us to get away from home, I feel like, to come together."
Bradley agreed that leaving Boston might turn out to be beneficial for the Celtics.
"You're going to hear from everybody. They're going to be saying, 'You want to do this, you want to do that,' " Bradley said. "I think we need to sit back and relax. Focus on just executing the game plan, whatever (coach) Brad (Stevens) prepares for us, and I feel like everything will be fine. You can't panic with all the errors, as far as the way that (Rajon) Rondo is playing and the offensive rebounds."
Stevens said all-star guard Isaiah Thomas is expected to fly to Chicago late Thursday evening, arriving in plenty of time to suit up for Game 3. Thomas went home to Seattle after Game 2 to be with his family following the death in a car accident of his younger sister Chyna.
"That's a lot of burden on his shoulders," Celtics guard Marcus Smart said. "We feel it, too. That's our brother."
"I talked to him yesterday, talked to him today," added Bradley. "Being with family at a time like this, I think, is very important and very helpful."