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Why are the Celtics struggling at home during the playoffs?

BOSTON -- The Celtics are looking to keep their season alive Thursday night with a home win over the Heat. Usually, a home game in the Eastern Conference Finals would be a good thing for the team looking to extend the series.

That may not be the case for the Celtics, though, as TD Garden has been a bit of a house of horrors this postseason. After going 32-9 on their home court in the regular season -- good for the third-best home record in the NBA -- the Celtics are just 4-5 at home this postseason.

Why the struggles on the parquet floor? Even the Celtics aren't sure.

"That is one of those funny things that is hard to explain," Al Horford said after Thursday's shootaround. "But that's the way that it has gone. We have to respond; our backs are against the wall and we have to respond."

The Celtics lost the first two games against the Heat in Boston, part of the reason they find themselves in a 3-1 series hole heading into Thursday night's Game 5. After winning their first two home games of the playoffs against the Hawks, the Celtics have lost five of their last seven home games this postseason. 

While a 4-5 home record is surprising for a team that was the favorite to win it all for large stretches of the season, it probably shouldn't be with these Celtics. Dating back to last postseason, the Celtics are a disappointing 10-11 at TD Garden. After sweeping the Nets in the first round last summer, the Celtics went on to lose two home games in each of their three playoff series that followed, including a Game 6 loss to the Warriors in the NBA Finals.

It's a puzzling trend for the Celtics, but you can point to their inability to keep leads as one of the main factors. Boston has had a knack for letting double-digit leads slip away at home, with two instances this postseason. They lost Game 5 against the Hawks after squandering a 13-point lead in the fourth quarter, and they lost Game 2 against the Heat after being up by a dozen points in the final frame.

Facing elimination, the Celtics cannot let this weird trend of losing at home continue on Thursday night. 

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