The Boston Celtics fell in the worst possible scenario, dropping both games at home to start their Eastern Conference finals series with the Miami Heat after Friday night’s 111-105 loss at TD Garden.
Boston entered the series with unearned homecourt advantage — handed over after the Milwaukee Bucks were eliminated in Round 1 — and continues to abuse every opportunity of fortune that’s gone it’s way. In Game 1, Jimmy Butler and the Heat had their way, similar to Boston’s semifinal round against the Philadelphia 76ers, only this time they didn’t have a response in Game 2.
But the Celtics aren’t finger-pointing despite cornering themselves with the threat of elimination quickly looming as the series heads to Miami.
“We got his back, he got ours. Joe (Mazzulla) ain’t miss no shots tonight,” Tatum told reporters, per NBC Sports Boston video. “He ain’t had no turnovers. I missed shots, I had turnovers. So, anytime we lose I’m (gonna) look at what I could’ve done better, and in order for us to change the outcome.”
Mazzulla, like Tatum — who drained not a single field goal in the fourth quarter for the second straight game, also had a fair share of the blame for where the Celtics stand in the series. On numerous occasions within their last eight quarters played, Mazzulla has questionably watched Butler re-take momentum from Boston’s hands and spark a fuse in the Heat, with no sense of urgency in calling a timeout. By night’s end, Mazzulla even had a spare timeout left to take home with him.
In the fourth quarter, despite holding an 83-75 at the start, the Celtics crashed and burned yet again.
Tatum and Jaylen Brown, who’ve identified their roles countless times throughout this playoff hunt alone, once again failed to deliver. The All-Star duo combined to shoot 1-of-8 with eight points — Tatum scored all five of his at the free-throw line — and watched another opportunity get by them.
If there was ever a time for urgency, a team meeting or some energy switch as Brown preaches himself, it’d be now.