Celtics met their enemy and it was themselves

An advisory:

For a review of the Celtics’ Game 5 performance Wednesday night against the Bucks, go back to the essay that appeared here after Game 4 and read it backwards.

That jumble is really Jrue Holiday saying “I buried the Celtics.”

Holiday had lots of help, none more valuable than that of the Celtics themselves.

The C’s got precisely what they deserved. They are down 3-2 to Milwaukee on merit. They go back there for Game 6 on Friday night, hoping to bring it back to the Garden for Game 7.

It has become impossible to gauge whether home court has any bearing on how they play.

But the exasperation of their Game 5 debacle is still fresh. So, it feels like their degree of difficulty in avoiding an instantaneous start of their summer vacation has skyrocketed.

Ditto for their likelihood that the Celtics will spend some idle time brooding over their wasted opportunity.

Don’t grasp for alibis because there are none.

Robert Williams’ participation would not have prevented extended periods of Celtics sloppiness. Members of Boston’s second team did not put the Celtics through the shredder.

The refs didn’t do it.

The crowd was loud and poised to celebrate a win that would put them on the fast track to the conference finals.

Not even Giannis haunted them, at least no more than he did in Game 4. The Freak even provided a way for them to take the wheel for the rest of this series. He missed the second of two free throws with 14.2 seconds left.

As Jaylen Brown and Marcus Smart knocked each other down pursuing a rebound, Bobby Portis slipped in, grabbed the ball and made the game-changing put-back.

With 8.1 seconds left, Jrue Holiday blocked Smart’s shot and snatched the ball away from the NBA Defensive Player of the Year.

Then, after Pat Connaughton hit two foul shots with one second left, Holiday robbed Smart again.

For the Bucks, the Celtics’ generosity could be traced back to their failure to build on 13-point lead late in the second quarter. That was followed by the meltdown of a 14-point lead early in the fourth.

Beating the defending champions in Round 2 would follow a sweep of the Nets, the team widely considered a lock for this year’s NBA title.

But forget about the Celtics on the cover of Sports illustrated.

There could be a cover on one of the NBA preview magazines touting a Jayson Tatum confession:

“How we blew out chance at banner No. 18.”

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