Celtics’ same predictable mistakes produce familiar frustrating result in Game 2 loss to Warriors | Matt Vautour - bdsthanhhoavn.com

Celtics’ same predictable mistakes produce familiar frustrating result in Game 2 loss to Warriors | Matt Vautour

SAN FRANCISCO – The Celtics know what’s wrong.

They’ve been awful in the third quarter and they turn the ball over too much. Both were culprits in Sunday’s Game 2 loss that evened the series.

There are other things that haven’t gone right too, but if they come out of halftime better and avoid giving the ball away, Boston is more than likely going to win games.

The Celtics got away with a dreadful third quarter in Game 1 and said all the right things about fixing it and then they went out and had an even worse one in Game 2.

Golden State outscored Boston 31-14 in the third quarter on Sunday night capped by a 38-foot buzzer-beating 3-pointer to end it. Ime Udoka tried to shake his team out of it with lineup moves and even an intentional technical foul. Nothing worked.

Unlike in Game 1, the Warriors didn’t come unglued the same way in the fourth quarter.

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So now it’s a series.

When the plane carrying the Celtics contingent touched down on in San Francisco on Tuesday, if someone had offered the Celtics a split in San Francisco, they’d have certainly accepted. If they’d lost Game 1 and won Game 2, the series would be the same, but things would feel a lot rosier.

The Celtics have bounced back from every rough game they’ve had this postseason, but at the same time, the Warriors are obviously the best team Boston has faced. The Celtics need to clean up their problems quickly.

They’re not new issues. Boston has been lousy in the third quarter and they were lousy in the third quarter.

When they turn the ball over, they struggle and on Sunday night they turned the ball over 18 times.

When Marcus Smart is good, the Celtics are usually good. When he’s not they struggle. Smart wasn’t good. He shot 1-for-6, with five assists and five turnovers and never looked in rhythm.

Golden State leaves Game 2 thinking they can rattle Boston now. The Celtics, and specifically Jaylen Brown, didn’t emerge from his altercation with Draymond Green well. Brown was Boston’s best player in the first quarter before Green knocked him over while he was shooting a 3-pointer in the second quarter.

Green came close to kicking him after that and pushed him when both were on the ground. Brown bounced up mad and got into the Warrior big man’s face. Officials and teammates from both sides quickly got between them. The Warriors held their breath as the officials reviewed the tape. Green already had a previous technical foul. If the officials called double techs — a common response in similar situations — Green would have been ejected.

They called nothing other than the initial common foul on Green, who stayed in the game and finished with 9 points, five rebounds and seven assists.

Whether Boston was frustrated by Green or the officiating doesn’t matter. They were frustrated. Brown made two of three free throws and had just two more points the rest of the way.

The Celtics missed his scoring because Thursday’s three-headed Auxilliary heroes disappeared. In addition to Smart’s struggles, Derrick White and Al Horford were much more ordinary and Grant Williams still hasn’t returned to being the catalyst he was earlier in the playoffs.

As the series swings from west to east, the Celtics will be looking for the momentum pendulum to swing along with it.

Until tipoff on Wednesday, the narrative is going to be about how Golden State’s giant has awoken and whether are the Celtics in trouble. And all of that might be true. But if there are any lessons to come from this postseason, it’s that the last game rarely predicts much about the next one.

Golden State got bulldozed by Memphis, 134-95 in Game 5 of the quarterfinals and then clinched easily in Game 6. The Celtics were dominant in Game 2 against the Heat, brutal in Game 3 and terrific in Game 4.

Maybe most encouragingly, Boston hasn’t been bad in consecutive games. They’ll need that to continue.

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