Now are the Celtics taking this seriously?

By now, everyone paying any attention to the fast-fading Celtics understands a thing or three.

They cannot win when Jayson Tatum’s jump shots are falling short, clanging off the back of the rim, or being blocked.

Joe Mazzula ain’t Red Auerbach.

The 76ers are better than anyone in these parts thought.

Let’s set aside Mazzula’s foibles and Philly’s abilities. There is enough murmuring over the coach being in over his head, unable to keep up with Doc Rivers’ sheer savvy. And why in the world did they ever get rid of Ime Udoka in the first place?

(For those with foggy memories, Udoka admitted to sexual harassment of a female secretary. Udoka’s arrogance, selfishness and sheer stupidity were responsible for the boot that sent him stumbling out the door.)

As for the Sixers, they are more than Joel Embiid. Even fat, old James Harden is torching the C’s. In their Game 5 domination, they completely controlled the game’s flow from start to garbage time, when the Celtics scrubs put on a nice little display as the varsity sat, dazed confused.

Tatum set the tone. His mystifying 0-for-14 stretch early in the festivities handed Philadelphia the keys to the crumbling kingdom.

Determination is commendable unless it morphs into stubbornness.

Ignore Tatum’s final line. That worthless statistical puffery will not be hunted-and-pecked here.

Someone who has never seen an NBA game may use them later – in a few hours, a few weeks or a few decades – and fail to grasp how anyone could criticize the man.

He does deserve credit for admitting to an unacceptable performance. He doesn’t remember playing much worse.

There may be ways to lessen Tatum’s load. For instance, take Jaylen Brown, their best player through the playoffs. He shouldn’t be left to look on as Tatum bricks one more 3.

Get him involved and keep him involved.

Tell Marcus Smart that all anyone wants of him is hard-nosed defense, punctuated with floor burns diving after loose balls.

If he makes his first 3, call time out and tell him not to take any more unless it is unavoidable.

Can the Celtics actually win this series? Of course.

But not without a few floor burns.

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