By Michael Hurley, CBS Boston
BOSTON (CBS) — Losses are generally bad. Playoff losses are doubly bad. Playoff losses by 30 points? About as bad as it can get.
But in the wake of the Cavaliers’ 116-86 victory over Boston in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference finals, Celtics guard Terry Rozier saw the experience as a positive for his team.
“We have to play better. I felt like we needed this to get us ready for Monday,” Rozier said.
Rozier was asked to specify what it was the Celtics needed.
“We needed to get our butts whooped,” Rozier said. “Come back to reality and take care of business on Monday.”
Rozier had a relatively quiet 13 points in his 28 minutes on the floor, and he explained the game as an instance of the Cavaliers dictating just about everything.
“Like our coach said all the time, the toughest team sets the rules. And they came out aggressive from the jump, and they never looked back. When you got a team that’s playing aggressive like that, and they’re at home, it’s tough,” Rozier said. “They set the tone, they set the rules, and they came out aggressive.”
Rookie Jayson Tatum, who led the Celtics with 18 points, echoed that sentiment.
“They played well today. They hit a lot of shots. They were the tougher team — the more organized and focused team. We just made a lot of mistakes,” Tatum said. “We knew that they were going to come out with the type of energy ready to play. We just didn’t match it. When you go on the road, you gotta be the tougher, more energized team. It’s not good enough if you just match it.”
Jaylen Brown acknowledged that the Cavaliers brought the right level of physicality and intensity, but the second-year guard said the Celtics can still gain control when the opponent is coming on strong.
“It’s different, talking about it and doing it. I think Cleveland, they did a good job of getting what they wanted, making it hard for us. It just wasn’t our game. We can’t make excuses for it. We didn’t play the way we’re supposed to. I didn’t play the way I’m supposed to. And we lost. We come back next game and get it back,” Brown said. “I think it’s a lot on us. I give Cleveland credit but I think it’s a lot on us. We gotta be more aggressive, I gotta be more aggressive, and we gotta set the tone a lot better.”
Marcus Smart provided an electric jolt for the Celtics in Game 2, but did not make an impact in Game 3.
“They took the first punch,” Smart told reporters in the locker room. “We just couldn’t respond.”
As for Game 4, Rozier expressed confidence that his team can learn from the multitude of mistakes on both ends of the floor for an improved showing.
“Sometimes it doesn’t always work out like how we wanted. I think we go into every game feeling like we can win. Sometimes the team plays harder or they play better, and that’s what they did tonight,” Rozier said. “No disappointment. No disappointment. Just all the credit goes to them. We gotta play better. We can’t win them all. Obviously we wanted this one, it’d be good to go 3-0 to start the series. But everything don’t go as planned.”