It was enjoyable there for some time for Celtics followers Saturday night time, what with the Green rallying from a 26-point first-half deficit in opposition to the Miami Heat to make it a one-point deficit within the fourth quarter.

And to see not one however two injured Celtics disappear into the locker room to get checked out by the medics, then see each of them, first Marcus Smart after which Jayson Tatum, heroically reappear out of the tunnel, these have been certainly magical, scrapbook moments.

Except … no. Very little that passed off at TD Garden on Saturday night time shall be remembered by Celtics followers. If Boston’s 109-103 loss to the Heat in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference finals is remembered in any respect, it’ll be introduced up as a cautionary story, for instance of how issues can go horribly unsuitable when the gamers in your crew permit themselves to take a bow for all of the cheers they’re receiving earlier than they’ve finished something to deserve these cheers. The Celtics are actually down 2-1 within the best-of-seven collection.

“We started out flat, seems like we were looking around too much instead of playing the game,” Jaylen Brown mentioned. “And they got it going. They got stops and made shots and we didn’t in the first half. We didn’t match their intensity out of the gate.”

The Heat bought it going, all proper. They had a 39-18 lead after the primary quarter and led by as many as 26 factors within the second quarter, turning the usually festive, raucous Garden right into a tomb. The place bought relit when the Celtics chipped away at Miami’s bloated lead, and everybody was rocking and rolling when a Brown jumper reduce the result in 93-92 with 2:40 left.

But then it was the primary quarter another time. Max Strus hit on a 3-pointer. The Celtics turned the ball over. Bam Adebayo hit on a 17-foot jumper. The Celtics turned the ball over. What was additionally over at that time was the sport, save for the fouls and the free throws.

“You just gotta (Miami) credit,” Al Horford mentioned. “They were like a wounded animal. They came out fighting and for whatever reason we just didn’t have that same sense of urgency.”

Umm, OK. But Horford additionally mentioned this: “I think coming back home, you tend to relax a little bit, and I feel like we did that at the beginning.”

Coming dwelling … you are likely to, what’s that once more, calm down just a little bit?

In the Eastern Conference finals?

That, proper there, is why the Celtics must bury this sport as shortly as doable. Although it will need to have been vastly entertaining for Boston followers to look at the Celtics storm again, inch by inch, basket by basket, there’s some wonderful print within the Comeback Manual that covers these sorts of video games: Your accomplishment means nothing should you don’t win.

You need to discuss some actual Boston sports activities comebacks?

How concerning the Patriots getting back from a 28-3 deficit in opposition to the Atlanta Falcons in Super Bowl LI?

How about Bernie Carbo hitting a pinch-hit, three-run homer within the eighth inning of Game 6 of the 1975 World Series to show a 6-3 deficit right into a 6-6 tie?

How concerning the 2012-13 Bruins storming again with three third-period targets to ship Game 7 of their Eastern Conference quarterfinal collection in opposition to the Toronto Maple Leafs into extra time?

You know what these video games have in frequent? James White made a 2-yard landing run and the Patriots gained. Carlton Fisk hit a house run off the left-field foul pole main off the twelfth inning and the Red Sox gained. Patrice Bergeron scored in sudden-death OT and the Bruins gained.

All the Celtics did Saturday night time was sandwich a midgame spurt between a horrible begin and a horrible end. Even the returns of Marcus Smart and Jayson Tatum, thrilling on the time, particularly when Smart hit on a 3-pointer, appeared not so particular when the sport was over.

“(Smart) obviously came back and played,” Celtics coach Ime Udoka ho-hummed. “Looked like he rolled an ankle, and Jayson got a stinger but they were able to continue and finish the game, so I’m assuming they’ll be OK.”

So there.

Then once more, assume nothing concerning the Celtics. Recent historical past says they’ll bounce again and win Game 4 Monday night time, provided that they’ve misplaced two video games in a row solely twice since mid-January. But they have been 2-2 at dwelling in opposition to the Milwaukee Bucks within the Eastern Conference semifinals, and now they’re 0-1 at dwelling on this collection in opposition to the Heat.

Game 2 might have been one of many greatest Celtics playoff victories ever. James White, Patrice Bergeron and Pudge Fisk would have been so proud.

Instead, this one must be forgotten. It doesn’t meet the rulebook definition of a comeback. But if you wish to discuss gorgeous, calamitous playoff losses, Game 3 in opposition to Miami qualifies.

(Photo of Marcus Smart falling whereas defending the Heat’s Victor Oladipo: Winslow Townson / Getty Images)



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