Celtics come home – if that matters

Optimists, a rare but actual breed among Boston sports fans, maintained their air of confidence Monday morning.

The Celtics went to San Francisco and beat the Warriors in one of two games. Before the NBA Finals opened last Thursday, there wasn’t a Celtics fans on the planet who would have complained with that result.

They split, snatching home-court advantage away from the Warriors.

Mission accomplished.

Then Game 2 unfolded Sunday night. After churning enthusiasm from the band-wagon jumpers that emerge when the home team is in a championship round, they reminded everyone that they were a game under .500 in January.

It was brutal.

Golden State had a two-point lead at the half that probably should’ve been greater. The Celtics struggled offensively, often looking like five guys freelancing in a pickup game.

Defensively rejuvenated, the Warriors smothered the Celtics’ inside game. By halftime it was clear that they would not be allowed anything in the paint.

Then the Warriors found their own offensive rhythm and chased the Celtics out of the building and straight to the airport.

After three quarters the Warriors were up by 23 points. There was zero reason to think that the Celtics had another heroic rally in their immediate future.

The final tally was Golden State 107, Boston 88. The numbers don’t begin to explain how bad the Celtics looked.

Third quarters are routinely awful for the Celtics, for whatever reasons. And when the first two quarters are ugly and unprofitable, the third quarter becomes a brick wall that they slam into rather than climb over.

So Wednesday night they’ll tee it up for Game 3 at the Garden with Game 4 on Sunday night – not that a game’s location has much influence on the C’s performance.

At home the Celtics are 5-4 in these playoffs. On the road they are 8-3.

They could play the rest of this series in North Dakota and it wouldn’t matter.

All that matters now is how the Celtics handle anther flash of adversity.

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