Why Celtics being down 0-2 to Jimmy Butler-led team is no big deal
The Boston Celtics are deep on a 0-2 hole as they dropped Game 2 of their best-of-seven series against the Miami Heat on Thursday, 106-101. The Celtics didn’t have enough answers for the gritty Heat as they gave up a huge first-half lead and have put themselves in an unenviable position of being down two games in the Eastern Conference Finals.
But, if there’s anything the C’s can take away from Thursday’s loss, it’s that the franchise has been on this rather familiar road before. As Keith Smith of Yahoo! Sports puts it, the 2016-2017 Boston Celtics were down 0-2 against none other than Jimmy Butler and his former team the Chicago Bulls when the Celtics pulled off one of the best comebacks in Boston’s playoff history.
In 2016, the Celtics lost to the Jimmy Butler-led Bulls in Game 1 by 4 and in Game 2 by 14. Boston then won four straight to win the series.
It's not like there is no hope at all. It's happened before.
— Keith Smith (@KeithSmithNBA) September 18, 2020
Obviously, it’s a whole different ball game now and 2017 seems like a century ago. Since then, Butler has moved his talents to South Beach and is now the leader of this red-hot Miami Heat squad while Boston won’t have the services of their top three scorers from that season namely Isaiah Thomas, Avery Bradley, and Al Horford. To make matters even more peculiar for the Celtics, both Jae Crowder and Kelly Olynyk who had vital roles in that 2017 playoff bout against the Bulls now play for Miami.
Fortunately for Boston, Marcus Smart and Jaylen Brown were already part of that Boston team who won four straight against the Butler-led Bulls in 2017. Celtics head coach Brad Stevens as well as the entire team is hoping that Smart and Brown can bring that experience with them and translate it to wins as they’d need to come up with huge wins to overcome Miami and move on to the NBA Finals.