Let's be direct. It stings worse that Golden State beat the Celtics on Tuesday night. Because Steph Curry will keep frightening the Celtics in key occasions. Because that team is a harsh reminder of Boston's desperate goal.
It will never feel good for the Celtics to surrender a 17-point lead, stagnate in the fourth quarter, and lose in overtime. Golden State on the opposite side made the loss hurt more
Despite an aging squad, Draymond Green's suspension, and a sub-.500 record in a talented Western Conference, the Warriors can finish games. They're bugs. Curry always says "Night, night" minutes after you believe you've defeated them.
Moments don't overwhelm the Warriors. They strengthen in greater light. Despite their success, the Celtics are still striving to tap into that attitude.
A Tuesday night setback on the West Coast would be simple to overlook for any other squad. The Celtics have several plausible reasons for losing Tuesday's game.
Jayson Tatum injured his left ankle in the first quarter and played 41 minutes at lower intensity. Boston missed starting center Kristaps Porzingis on both ends. A 3,000-mile travel sits between the Celtics' five games in seven days.
But nobody likes excuses. Celtics missed a billion threes. In crunch time, nothing dropped around the hoop. Curry's fifth foul of the game midway through the third quarter didn't get him sent off. Curry, as usual, led the Warriors to a thrilling triumph despite playing his last 17 minutes with five fouls.
We can stress over timeouts -- Tatum's off-balance pull-up 3-pointer at the end of regulation was poor -- and Boston's shot selection -- 47 of their 58 3-pointers were open or better -- but Boston hit only 27.6% on wide-open looks (6+ feet from nearest defender). Boston is still learning how to flourish in the most pressing situations.