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After upsetting the Golden State Warriors in a convincing, 120-108 Finals-opening win Thursday night, the Boston Celtics had the tables turned on them in Game 2. Golden State maintained its perfect postseason record in games following a loss Sunday night, responding with a 107-88 series-tying victory at Chase Center.
Although the defeat obviously felt unsatisfactory for the C’s, they ultimately did their job by splitting the first two games and earning home-court advantage. Now, they’ve just got to do their job in Games 3 and 4 back in Boston.
Surprisingly, the C’s have performed better on the road than at home this postseason, boasting an 8-3 record in hostile territory compared to a 5-4 mark inside TD Garden. But that home record can be improved upon in Game 3 Wednesday night if the team comes out with the right mindset, bringing their patented road warrior intensity into their own arena.
“Just playing with a sense of urgency, I think,” Jayson Tatum said is the key to becoming more consistent at home. “Human nature plays a part when you go on the road, obviously it's a tough environment. I feel like recently we've kind of relaxed at home. Whether we thought because we had home-court advantage, we came out a little more relaxed. But just having that sense of urgency, knowing that we're at home, but that we need to play better at home.”
Jaylen Brown isn’t worried about the fact that the Celtics went 3-4 at TD Garden in their last two series against the Milwaukee Bucks and Miami Heat. All he's focused on is staying present in this series, knowing that his team can play at an extremely high level against Golden State as they showed in Game 1.
“Nothing in the past matters up until this moment, to be honest,” Brown said. “Everything that happened in the last series and the series before, who cares. Right now, we're here playing a different opponent, a different team, and we've got to look at it as such. We've got to come out and play our best version of basketball because we're capable of doing it.”
The C’s know exactly what held them back in Game 2: it was a combination of the 12 turnovers they committed in the first half, their inefficiency from 2-point range, where they shot just 34.9 percent, and their lack of scoring outside of Tatum (28 points), Brown (17 points), and Derrick White (12 points).
“We've just got to be ready to go and learn from these mistakes that we made tonight and grow from them,” said White.
They also have to learn from their past series when it comes to not getting too comfortable after earning home-court advantage. That’s why Brown is taking a “no-satisfaction” approach into Game 3.
“Every game is its own story," said Brown. “We've got to be ready to play each and every game. So no satisfaction in winning (Game) 1. No satisfaction in, obviously, tonight. We take from it, we learn from it, and we get ready for the next one.”
The next one should be a special one, given that it will be the first Finals game hosted at TD Garden in 12 years. Al Horford doesn’t want that opportunity to go to waste.
“On to Game 3. I can't wait to get to the Garden,” said the 15-year veteran. “I know it's going to be rockin’ on Wednesday.”