The Celtics were either coming back to Boston with a chance to capture the Larry O’Brien Trophy on their home floor or facing the potential nightmare scenario of the Warriors celebrating a championship victory on their home floor.
Unfortunately for the Celtics, in their 107-97 loss, they had to dig out of a 24-8 hole as they were inexplicably lethargic to start the game.
Jayson Tatum, who led the Celtics with 27 points and ten rebounds, tied Jaylen Brown for a team-high four assists, but had four giveaways, said of Boston’s slow start: “That’s on us. We’ve got to obviously, start better, not dig ourselves a hole. But (we) gave ourselves a chance; we played extremely well in that third quarter.”
Tatum added: “Just trying to sustain that level of play. We’ve got to do it more often than not throughout the course of a game to give ourselves a chance.”
Regarding his team’s lack of energy at the start of the most meaningful game in the careers of everyone on the Celtics’ roster, Brown, who registered 18 points, nine boards, and four assists, but led all participants with five turnovers, responded: “I don’t know how to answer that question. We come out each and every night and try to do the best job that we possibly can.
“Credit to Golden State; they came out with great energy and made it tough for us. I feel like we had some good looks, but it didn’t go our way tonight. We don’t hang our heads, we don’t make excuses for it, and we’ll come out and get ready for the next one.”
Ime Udoka, also miffed by the Celtics’ slow start, expressed: “It’s hard to explain that start. We lacked physicality early. They took the fight to us early.”
While addressing Boston’s offense stagnating again, Udoka conveyed: “Spacing was the issue with them being physical, especially in the first quarter. They blew up some of our actions, and we were playing on top of each other.”
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He went on to say: “Credit to them as far as their physicality on defense, but at this point, we know what works well for us, and we’ve got to have that consistency.”
Al Horford, who had nine points and nine rebounds in Game 5, voiced: “Our backs are against the wall, and this is the time where we look at each other in the eyes, and we’ve got to figure it out. We have an opportunity now, and we’ve got to figure it out. There’s no tomorrow for us.”
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