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C’s say they’ll be ready to respond to Cleveland after Game 2 loss

BOSTON – A double-digit win in Game 1 followed by a double-digit loss in Game 2.

The Boston Celtics have been here before and they know how to respond.

The mood after Thursday night’s 118-94 Game 2 loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers was similar to that of two weeks ago when the C’s lost Game 2 of their first-round matchup against the Miami Heat. Although it’s a new series against a different team, Boston’s mindset heading into Game 3 will be the same as before: channel the frustration of losing into motivation to bounce back. And they are hoping for the same result in the third game as before.

Such frustration was evident when Jaylen Brown took the podium and highlighted the team’s abnormally poor shooting and defensive performances. In the series-tying loss, Boston shot just 22.9 percent from 3-point range, nearly 16 percentage points lower than its playoff average, while allowing the opposition to score close 16 points more than his playoff average.

“Obviously we didn’t shoot the ball very well tonight, but defensively it was an unacceptable performance, and I think that’s where I’m most upset,” Brown said. “Defensively, we gave up 118 points, and on top of that, we lost the rebounding battle. So we didn’t help ourselves tonight.

Brown went on to explain that there is only one way to counter a loss like this.

“You take it on the chin, you learn from it, and you go out and do your best for the next game,” he said. “We have to be ready to respond.”

The Celtics have responded to almost every loss this season, including their 104-84 win over Miami in Game 3 of the first round.

Even though they felt frustrated following their latest defeat, they certainly didn’t feel demoralized.

“No one in there was defeated or deflated,” Jayson Tatum described the scene in the Celtics locker room. “I mean, you never want to lose, especially in the playoffs… But the world thinks we’re never supposed to lose; we’re supposed to win every game by 25. And it’s not going to be like that all the time. So we don’t expect it to be easy. They’re a good team we’re facing in the second round of the playoffs. It’s going to be fun, the rest of this series, especially Saturday. We bounced back and forth several times. We lost what, 18 games this year? So I’d like to think we responded pretty well to the few times we lost.

Part of the reason the Celtics responded so well after their losses was their head coach’s philosophy of taking a balanced approach regardless of the outcome.

“You treat it the same way you would a win,” Joe Mazzulla said right after the loss. “You come tomorrow, you watch film and you get better for Game 3.”

Added veteran Al Horford: “That’s what we did last time, and we have to understand that we’re coming into Saturday in a hostile place. This is going to be a battle. We just have to make sure we are at our best. I’m confident we’ll be ready to go.”