All of the fun we were having in Boston?
That is gone now… All of it. All of that fun is over and we shouldn’t be that surprised about it.
On second thought let me re-do that without deleting it in full. Am I surprised that the Cavaliers won a must-win Game 3 at home with their backs against the wall?
Am I surprised with how the Cavaliers won Game 3?
Absolutely. Here’s why.
The Celtics have been atrocious on the road this postseason. I didn’t expect those road woes to be going away heading into Game 3. This young team has yet to show that they can consistently bring it on the road in big time playoff games. Hostile environments don’t sit well with them.
Still… I didn’t expect to see the Celtics throw up all over themselves like they did last night.
Everything that had the opportunity to go wrong went wrong for the Celtics last night. I wish it was easy to pinpoint the specific areas that allowed the wheels of the 2-0 party bus to come flying off because it was everything.
I’m still going to give it a shot.
The Swiss Cheese Defense
Holy shit. Anybody? Bueller? Jesus Christ? ANYONE?
If there was a defensive play to be made, the Celtics had no interest in being anywhere near it. The Cavaliers weren’t just taking open shots. They were taking “Let me make a quick phone call to my mother and then shoot” open shots.
It was a three point rainstorm like you read about and the Cavs had all the singles inside the club that was Quicken Loans Arena.
The Celtics were horrible on their closeouts, it showed early and often. At one point I saw Marcus Smart go under a screen and into the paint allowing George Hill to shoot a wide open three with the same smile on his face that he had when he was sending pictures of his Johnson to a girl that got leaked to ESPN.
Cleveland got whatever look they wanted and credit to them for showing up at home last night. The Celtics had an opportunity to put this team away by going up 3-0 and making the rest of this series a formality.
The Cavs were not about that life last night. The Celtics paid for every defensive mistake BADLY.
Foul Trouble & Ball Security
Jaylen Brown picking up 2 fouls in the first 5 minutes of the game ensured all of us that he would have the same amount of rhythm as me trying to do the Blockboy Shoot dance.
The Celtics just couldn’t keep their hands to themselves. Fouls were ill-advised and they came in bunches. Whenever the C’s looked ready to ramp up the defense they would commit a foul that forced me to evaluate if I needed unbroken drywall in my apartment.
When it wasn’t the fouls it was the turnovers. When you look back into the box score you’ll see that the fouls committed and the turnovers between the two teams were similar amounts.
The difference? Simple.
Boston turned the ball over at the worst possible times when trying to cut into the deficit. Cleveland turned the ball over only after sticking two daggers into the Celtics and they messed around trying to throw a third straight in there.
This game was nightmare fuel on both sides of the ball. The Cavaliers could afford their fouls and their turnovers because they literally shot the lights out of the building.
It’s a lot easier to cover up your mistakes when you’re going full John Wayne on the God damn basket.
Speaking of shooting…
This was by far some of the worst shot selection I’ve seen from the Celtics all year long. Brad Stevens always preaches to this team to not go for the home run play when climbing out of a deficit.
The players didn’t get that memo last night. Instead of trying to grind one possession at a time they tried to make their comeback by throwing up contested threes and forced off-balance jumpers.
Forget the fact that the Celtics just didn’t show up… They shot themselves in the foot the minute after Cleveland had shot them in the chest.
It was odd to see, it’s the kind of thing you expect this Celtics team to avoid because they’ve done a good job of that all year.
They just didn’t have it last night.
On To The Next One
Despite most of this roster flat out not showing up for the basketball game last night, the thing I do admire about this team is that they have one hell of a short-term memory.
Game 3 is gone and it’s not coming back… So might as well focus on Game 4. It’s a thing that’s easier said than done, but this team knows how to do it better than most.
It’s funny to sit here up 2-1 and be upset that the Boston Celtics didn’t go up 3-0 on LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers, but I’m upset anyway.
The good thing is that they’ll be ready to roll Monday night. You can take that to the bank. Am I guaranteeing a win? Absolutely not because this is the NBA Playoffs and while everyone was overreacting to a 2-0 series lead calling it over… Most of us know this thing was far from over.
I do know that the Celtics will hang onto this feeling for a little bit and ensure they do everything to show up Monday night and not let it happen again. LeBron James’ teammates finally showed up for a full 48 minutes of professional basketball. They have to do that all over again.
If you’re sitting there asking me if I think the Cavs will shoot 49% from the floor and 50% from three (HITTING 17 THREES) again in Game 4 I just don’t see that happening. If it does happen I don’t expect the Celtics to crater like they did last night.
As Bill Belichick as it gets… We’re all onto Game 4.