Al Horford, Jaylen Brown, and Jayson Tatum offer their view on what went wrong in Boston’s Game 3 loss to the Heat

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The Boston Celtics came out to play against the Miami Heat with a distinctly noticeable lack of hunger to match a desperate Heat assault to start Game 3, and quickly fell into a considerable deficit as a result, trailing by as much as 26 points in a game they lost wire to wire.

How did the Celtics not see this coming after smacking Miami so hard on their own court in Game 2 to even the series? How did they not know that such a disciplined team would not be planning to come out strong, particularly given they had said as much after Boston evened the series up on Thursday night?

After falling to the Heat 109-103 at TD Garden Saturday, a number of Celtics offered their perspective on what went wrong in game 3.

“We started out flat,” said star forward Jaylen Brown. “It seems like we were looking around too much instead of playing the game.”

“They got it going, they got stops and made shots and we didn’t in the first half, but we didn’t match their intensity out of the gate.”

“We did a (expletive) job of taking care of the basketball today,” he added.

“(We need to keep) being stronger, driving them, keep being aggressive. I’m going to keep getting to the basket. I’m going to keep doing what I do, but be stronger when I get in there. (The refs) let a lot of stuff go tonight, especially when I feel like I drive and get to the basket — I feel like there are two hands on me all the time. I don’t ever get those hand-checking calls, but I don’t make excuses. We get better; I did a (expletive) job of taking care of the basketball.”

“Today, I’ve got to do better,” he suggested.

Teammate Al Horford was careful to credit the Heat’s intensity in Game 3 for causing so many turnovers; “From the beginning, their pressure, I felt like it bothered us,” he offered.

“And we didn’t respond — it’s happened a couple of times this playoff run. It’s something that we continue to fight; it seemed like every time we put ourselves in position (to make a run), we turned the ball over. We’ve got to look at the film tomorrow, and see how we can be better for Monday.”

“The reality is that (flat starts) can happen,” he explained. “We have to be better.”

Among the Celtics’ core players, Jayson Tatum stood out as among Boston’s biggest disappointments from Game 3, going 3-of-14 from the field and just 1-of-7 from deep while putting up just 10 points and 4 boards — and 6 turnovers.

“They played well from the beginning, but (me committing) 6 turnovers, no field goals in the second half, that is unacceptable. Honestly, I’ve got to play better. I feel like I left the guys hanging tonight. That’s on me — I acknowledge that.”

“We’ve obviously got to be better starting the game, for sure,” he later said.

The Celtics cannot come out and play another game with such a low level of urgency if they want a shot at advancing beyond this series, particularly with the potential to have to play games without big man Robert Williams III or point guard Marcus Smart.

While the Heat may not have their own version of Giannis Antetkounmpo, a lapse in focus at any point of the game will be identified and feasted on by Miami, and only the Celtics’ best may be enough to defeat a determined Heat squad.

Even as they battle injury woes of their own.

This post originally appeared on Celtics Wire. Follow us on Facebook!

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