Sports

Celtics hope homecoming sparks NBA Finals boost

BOSTON – Desperate to reduce turnovers and avoid third-quarter slumps, the Boston Celtics hope coming home will spark a revival in their NBA Finals performance.

The Celtics and Golden State Warriors are deadlocked 1-1 in the best-of-seven championship series entering game three Wednesday at Boston Garden.

After an epic fourth-quarter rally brought Boston a game one triumph, the Warriors took advantage of 33 points off 19 turnovers and a big third quarter for a 107-88 victory in game two on Sunday.

"Didn't give ourselves a chance with a lot of those turnovers," Celtics coach Ime Udoka said. "We weren't strong with the ball. For us that was a little disappointing."

The Celtics are 5-4 at home in the playoffs, while going 8-3 on the road, but star Jaylen Brown is ready to forget such things.

"We've got to come out and play our best version of basketball," Brown said. "We can't let stuff that's happened in the past affect our mindset going forward.

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"We've just got to come out and do a better job taking care of the basketball."

The Celtics need to avoid falling into deep holes in the third quarter as they have in the first two games in San Francisco as well.

"We've got to come ready to play, come ready to meet that physicality on both ends," Brown said. "We're not a perfect team, but we'll figure it out going forward. We've just got to play for 48 minutes.

"We know the Warriors are a third-quarter team. We talked about it. They still came out and were able to go on a run. We've just got to be able to answer."

Boston forward Jayson Tatum stresses cutting down on turnovers.

"They got a lot of points off our turnovers. That's something we've got to be better for next game," he said. "Throughout the playoffs, the games we have high turnovers result in a loss.

"That's definitely a point of emphasis. We're a really good team when we take care of the ball. But we have those lapses where — snowball effect — we pile on turnovers and dig ourselves into a hole."

Tatum says the intensity of road games helps the Celtics play better, but they will have that same urgency at home in the Garden now.

"Just playing with a sense of urgency," Tatum said. "Human nature plays a part when you go on the road. It's a tough environment.

"We've relaxed at home. (Now it's) just having that sense of urgency, knowing that we're at home, but that we need to play better at home."

Derrick White said the Celtics were frustrated after two poor third quarters against the Warriors.

"It's definitely frustrating," White said. "It's easy to talk about, but we've got to go out there and change something. We've just got to learn from these mistakes that we made and grow from them."

'GOING TO BE ROCKING'

Celtics center Al Horford vowed a better performance in game three.

"I felt like we missed a lot of easy ones around the basket. I have to be better in that area and I will be next game. I'll look at the film. I'll learn from it."

When it comes to turnovers, Horford says, "for us to be in a better chance of winning, we have to cut those down."

Horford says the Celtics need a mental change to improve in the third quarter.

"It's a mindset," he said. "It's something we have to fix. Coach has talked about it. We need to find ways to be better. Look at that film and be better, and I think we can.

"On to Game 3. I can't wait to get to the Garden. I know it's going to be rocking on Wednesday."

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