BOSTON -- Back in January, Jaylen Brown had a premonition that the Celtics were turning things around, tweeting that "The energy is about to shift." The energy did indeed shift for Boston, and the Celtics became one of the best teams in the NBA.
The saying caught on so much that the Celtics had it printed on their rally towels for Sunday's Game 7 against the Bucks at TD Garden. But on Tuesday night, those words were seemingly been used against Brown and the Celtics.
Following Boston's Game 1 loss to the Heat in the Eastern Conference Finals on Tuesday night, Heat big man Bam Adebayo, who had an emphatic rejection on Brown during Miami's epic third quarter run, may have thrown a little shade at the Celtics' swingman.
"I feel like our energy shifted," Adebayo said at the podium Tuesday night. "That was the biggest key; our energy shifted. We started getting stops on defense and running, getting in transition and the crowd got into it."
Maybe his choice of words was just a coincidence. But that isn't fun, so we'll speculate that Adebayo wanted to get one last shot in at the Celtics after a satisfying victory.
Let the war of words begin.
Adebayo and the Heat have plenty of reason to gloat. They turned an eight-point deficit at halftime into a 17-point lead heading into the fourth quarter after absolutely pummeling the Celtics in the third quarter, outscoring Boston 39-14. Miami turned up the defense and the Celtics had no answer, turning the ball over eight times in the quarter.
Brown finished with 24 points thanks to a decent fourth quarter, but he was a huge negative in the third. He missed all five of his shots from the floor, including two layup attempts that were blocked. He missed two of his four free throws, and also had a pair of turnovers.
After the loss, Brown said that the Heat played harder than the Celtics in the third, and Boston never matched their intensity.
"It just seemed like everything was going their way and we were standing around watching," he said. "That's not what we do. We've got to get in there, get in the mix, be more physical, match their physicality, match their intensity, and we didn't.
"I've got to be better. I will be better," he added. "The Celtics have got to be better."
It's hard to get worse than what the Celtics showed in the third. They did bounce back a bit in the fourth, outscoring Miami 31-25, and they even cut the lead to just seven at one point late in the game. But they dug themselves into an insurmountable hole with that putrid third quarter, and couldn't get out of it in the end.
At least the Celtics have all the motivation in the world heading into Thursday night's Game 2, and Adebayo may have provided Boston with a little extra bulletin board material. We'll just have to wait and see how the energy shifts come Thursday night.
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