Series all up to the Celtics … as it has been all along

It took stumbling knee-deep into a 0-3 hole, coast-to-coast lampooning and gales of hateful laughter for the Celtics to play up to their capabilities.

As for three encore performances and a berth in the NBA Finals …

Can they do it?

Of course, they can.

Will they do it?

How should we know? How should anyone know?

If someone says they are positively, absolutely certain either way, slowly back away from them. They are not of this world.

The Celtics have more talent than the Heat. That is inarguable.

It was inarguable before and after their Game 1 loss. Ditto for Games 2, 3 and 4.

And it’s not as if the Heat are a reincarnation of the King James of South Beach Heat. Jimmy Butler is a star. His teammates work on the ground floor.

Everything about this series has been subject to the Celtics’ various moods and habits. Jayson Tatum wants to launch 3’s from an imaginary 4-point arc? Fire away.

Jaylen Brown wants to vie for time on SportsCenter rather than play the serious defense that is the good Jaylen’s calling card? Sneer a little longer.

Marcus Smart wants to pretend he can shoot 3’s with the best of them? He can; he just has trouble guiding them through the hoop.

For these reasons, and other general malfeasance at both ends of the floor, the Celtics lost their first two games at the Garden, then split a pair in front of Miamians and a few of the rich and celebrated who don’t often hang out on Causeway St.

For instance, there’s Alex Rodriguez and Derek Jeter (who weren’t side-by-side in their court-side seats).

Predictably – these TV directors don’t miss a thing – used their presence to acknowledge that Boston has reveled in the exhilaration of rallying from a 3-0 series deficit.

It’s a point that should have lived for 30 seconds before fading into irrelevancy.

The Red Sox’ 2004 triumph, the greatest professional sports story these eyes will ever see, was an example of toughness, resiliency and all the other ingredients found in athletic masterpieces. It was also helped by, among other things, the Yankees’ over-extended bullpen in their quest for a sweep.

If the Celtics can pull this off it would be the greatest comeback in NBA history, joining all the other passages written by their Boston ancestors.

It would also be the only way the Celtics could wash away the ugliness of their efforts in Games 1, 2 and 3.

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