I counted out the Red Sox in 2004, so I’m not saying it’s over until it’s over for the Celtics

I counted out the Red Sox in 2004, so I’m not saying it’s over until it’s over for the Celtics

There’s the hedge . . . “unlikely.’’

There was much hysteria and resignation in my Globe inbox and over social media after the Celtics blew a 12-point fourth-quarter lead in Game 2 on Causeway Friday.

But I find myself reluctant to say it’s over. I don’t trust the Celtics when they are good and I don’t trust them when they are bad.

Folks at the goofy ESPN Analytics’ Basketball Power Index feel the same way. Before the start of this series, ESPN Analytics stated that the Celtics had a 97 percent chance to win the series. After losing two at home the ESPN geeks doubled down, claiming the Celtics still had a 65 percent chance to win the series. In Vegas, the Celtics were 4½ point favorites to win Game 3.

I find myself falling into the same trap. Full Rochie style. I keep looking at the Celtics roster, and the Heat roster, and coming away saying the Celtics have the better team. It’s certainly true the Celtics were a better regular-season team, going 57-25, 13 games better than Miami’s 44-38. The Heat played two play-in games just to get into the postseason tournament.

A national panel of experts determined that the Celtics have two of the NBA’s top-10 players in Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown. The Heat only have one, Jimmy Butler. Miami also has seven undrafted players. One of Miami’s starters, the undrafted Max Strus, was cut by the Celtics in 2019 to make room for the immortal Javonte Green.

The Heat are Janis Ian’s team: “And those whose names were never called when choosing sides for basketball.’’

So there’s always hope for the Celtics to win this series. Green Team New Englanders no doubt still will be saying this right up until the Celtics ultimately get eliminated.

This is what’s so annoying about Grady Mazzulla’s team. They waltz around as if they’ve been to the mountain top even though they’ve never reached the summit. They didn’t seem particularly rattled or urgent after losing Game 2. Ignoring the numbers, they remain stubbornly/blissfully unaware that they turtle and turn over the ball in close games. In these playoffs they are 0-6 in games when they are within 5 points in the final three minutes. Joey M keeps saying they’re “getting good looks” at the end of games, even though they are not getting good looks at the end of games.

And still, I can’t count them out.

Maybe it’s the ghost of the 2004 Red Sox.

When the Curse-busting Sox fell behind the Yankees, 3-0, losing the third game of the ALCS, 19-8, at home, I buried them, writing this on Page 1 of the Oct. 17 Sunday Globe: “So there. For the 86th consecutive autumn, the Red Sox are not going to win the World Series.’’

You know what happened. That very night a hungover Kevin Millar started telling everyone, “Don’t let us win tonight. If we win tonight, we got Pedro coming back and then Schill and then anything can happen in a Game 7.’’

And it all happened.

To this day, the Globe has never run a correction for the incorrect fact stated on Page 1 of that Sunday newspaper. It would have been a classic, something like, “Because of a reporter’s cynicism, it was incorrectly stated in the Oct. 17 Globe that the Red Sox were not going to win the 2004 World Series. The Red Sox did, in fact, win the 2004 World Series. The Globe regrets the error.’’

So no declarative statements about the Celtics today. Too soon. It ain’t over.

Dan Shaughnessy is a Globe columnist. He can be reached at daniel.shaughnessy@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @dan_shaughnessy.

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