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#pounditThursday, July 7, 2022

Ime Udoka calls out Celtics for 1 reason after Game 3 loss

Ime Udoka coaching the Celtics

Mar 23, 2022; Boston, Massachusetts, USA; Boston Celtics head coach Ime Udoka watches from the sideline as they take on the Utah Jazz in the second half at TD Garden. Mandatory Credit: David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

The Boston Celtics needed to get off to a hot start in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Finals against the Miami Heat on Saturday. Knowing that the Heat would come out strong after losing Game 2, Celtics head coach Ime Udoka was not pleased with how his team reacted.

Speaking to reporters after the game, Udoka called out his team for coming out cold instead.

“All [Miami] talked about was upping their physicality, being embarrassed at home,” Udoka said. “That’s what we spoke up about. Not being caught off guard or complacent or content with getting a win at their place and understanding how they’re going to guard guys and be physical, and we didn’t match that from the start.

“It looked liked we were wilted under the pressure, started complaining to the refs and took us out of the game from the start. Disappointed to come out that flat in a conference final game.”

The Heat had a large 39-18 lead after the first quarter, which was enough to preserve their eventual 109-103 victory to take a 2-1 advantage in the series.

The Celtics, despite losing Marcus Smart and Jayson Tatum for brief periods of time during the game, outscored the Heat 85-70 for the final three quarters. But their early deficit proved to be too much to overcome.

To add to Udoka’s frustration, the Celtics couldn’t take control of the game once Jimmy Butler left with right knee inflammation. Butler had just eight points in 20 minutes, but might be able to return for Game 4.

Bam Adebayo flourished in Butler’s absence, scoring 31 points with 10 rebounds and six assists.

It wasn’t all bad for the Celtics, however. Jaylen Brown scored 40 points, and has responded nicely to Udoka’s criticism after Game 1.

Still, the Celtics will need to come out firing on all cylinders in Game 4 on Monday to avoid going down 3-1 as the series flips back to Miami for Game 5 on Wednesday.

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