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The Celtics Once Again Blow Homecourt After Letting Jimmy Butler And The Heat Come Into Their Building And Steal Game 1

Adam Glanzman. Getty Images.

If there's one thing the Celtics seem to love more than anything in the world, it's making their life harder on themselves. They lost Game 1 last year in the ECF in MIA, and here we are again one year later and the Celtics once again choke away a prime opportunity and lose Game 1 of the ECF. For the second straight series, they cannot win on their own floor to kick things off. What good is a homecourt advantage if you literally can't win at home? 

Just like it always seems to be when this team plays the Heat, they allowed Miami to completely bully them. That's what this was, it was a bullying. The Celts had every opportunity to come into this series and assert themselves in a way that would show the Heat (and maybe themselves) that they learned from last year and that things would be different.

In reality, we got the exact same Game 1 as last year. Jimmy Butler came into this building and refused to let his team lose. 

Just like we saw against the Sixers, when the Celtics can't get stops and play losing basketball, guess what happens? They lose. Not only that, they get embarrassed. You give up 122 points on 54/51% shooting with 16 3PM at home? In the biggest game of the year with a spot in the Finals on the line? Have some fucking shame. 

Even in the first half when the Celts had a lead as high as 12 and eventually at 9 at the break, they still weren't playing defense. The only thing they did was take care of the ball and go on a little mini run to get some separation. There was still no real resistance with Jimmy Butler or Bam, and the Celts certainly weren't defending the three point line. Overall, they were playing like shit and just so happened to be up by 9.

That of course all changed in the second half. I don't even know what to say about that 3rd quarter other than it was a complete failure from everyone involved. It starts with Joe. At the 9:42 mark after Max Strus hit his 3PM to cut it to 6, that's where you need to take your timeout to stop the bleeding. They had just had a Bam AND1 the possession before, momentum was starting to shift. After a missed Al 3PA we got Love's transition 3PM and now it was down to 3. OK, at worst, call your timeout now. The lead is down to 3.

Joe didn't, Smart went 1-2 from the line and things continued to unravel. In fact, Joe didn't take a timeout and play didn't stop until the 6:28 mark TV timeout with the game tied at 78 (and a Butler FTA coming). The 12 point lead gone in about 4 minutes. Here's the thing though, things got no better out of the timeouts. That's the thing you have to remember. Just because you call one, the players still have to execute. This is where their share of the blame pie comes. Coming out of that timeout down 79-78, the Celts still gave up a 24-13 run to end the quarter. Back to back 3PM by Butler and Caleb Martin kept the seperation, and then you had this beyond boneheaded rotation by Malcolm Brogdon in the final seconds

What is Malcolm doing here? You leave a shooter in the strong side corner to cover….Cody Zeller? Those are the mental mistakes you absolutely cannot make, especially as a team is starting to gain momentum. Those are back breaking plays.

In the end, it was a 46-25 quarter. You absolutely cannot win with that type of defense or lack there of. The Heat scored nearly half their points in those 12 minutes! After taking care of the ball in the first half, the Celtics had 4 in the 3rd quarter alone. They went from up 12 to down 12 because they played no defense (MIA shot 66/66% with 6 3PM), and they were careless with the basketball. Not to mention they also gave up 4 OREB and 10 2nd chance points in that 3rd quarter. Basically, every single thing you cannot do against the Heat, the Celtics did in that 3rd quarter and they payed the price. 

Once we got late and the Celts were in a two possession game it was more of the same losing basketball. More turnovers. In this quarter the Celts had 6, 5 of which came from Tatum and Brown. You know, just like last year's series. For some odd reason the Celts offense decided to ice out their best player, and then once he got the ball late things got tight and the turnovers followed. Oh, not to mention the 7 missed FTs in a game the Celts lost by 7. That's fucking fun.

The players talked about how if one thing wasn't going to happen in this series, it was that the Heat would not out-tough the Celtics. Uhhh, that's exactly what happened. Who looked like the tougher team out there tonight? Who looked like the team that was imposing their will while the other was reactionary? Again, for this to happen on your own floor on this stage with so much on the line is very embarrassing. For whatever reason, this team simply refuses to not take the harder path. I don't think this was a game where they didn't show up or didn't look mentally ready, they were just outplayed. Flat out punched in the mouth in that 3rd quarter and never recovered.

There's a long way to go in this series, but look the reality is the season is now basically on the line on Friday. We know this team can respond when the pressure gets tight, but I'd be lying if I said I wasn't annoyed with this shit. Just play smart. Why is that so hard against the Heat? You can't play dumb and not play defense and expect to win, I don't care who you're playing. That's losing basketball.

We'll dive in more tomorrow. But for now, what a fucking letdown. Time to respond.