Terry Rozier says Celtics got needed wake-up call in Game 3

CLEVELAND -- Boston Celtics guard Terry Rozier believes his team got a much-needed wake-up call during Saturday's lopsided Game 3 loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers in the Eastern Conference finals.

The Cavaliers jumped Boston early en route to a 116-86 triumph that narrowed the Celtics' series lead to 2-1. Rozier hinted that the Celtics might have gotten a little too content after taking the first two games of the series in Boston.

"We needed to get our butts whooped," he said. "Come back to reality and take care of business on Monday."

Added Rozier: "I feel like we needed this to get us back, to get us ready for Monday."

The Cavaliers blitzed Boston at the start of Saturday's game, and the Celtics never matched Cleveland's intensity. Even more damning, Boston never made one of its familiar late-game charges, seemingly accepting that the Cavaliers were the dominant team on this night.

"It just shows that, when you don't bring it as a team and you don't play the way you're supposed to play, these kind of things can happen," said Celtics big man Al Horford, who finished with only four shots in 30 minutes. "At the same time, you've got to give Cleveland credit. They played better. They were the better team tonight."

Celtics coach Brad Stevens repeatedly praised the way Cleveland performed and tried to keep the focus on the way the Cavs performed over Boston's indifference.

"We were clearly not the harder-playing, more-connected team tonight. Cleveland was, and they deserve all the credit for that," Stevens said. "I thought they played a great game. They came out and really moved it and were really tough, got into us defensively."

Stevens noted how Boston settled for a lot of low-percentage pull-up jumpers instead of working to either get to the basket or generate quality perimeter looks through ball movement.

Jaylen Brown noted how the Cavaliers put an emphasis on preventing him from setting the tone offensively for Boston by denying him the ball early. Brown got in early foul trouble, which further hindered a Celtics defense that watched LeBron James both get his points (27 for the night) and play facilitator (nine assists over 32 minutes).

Horford was displeased with Boston's defensive effort in a game in which James was able to finally get his supporting cast going.

The Cavaliers shot 12-of-19 off James' passes in Game 3, including 6-of-11 shooting from beyond the 3-point arc, per ESPN Stats & Information. Thirteen of those 19 shots were uncontested looks for a Cleveland team that generated a mere 12 uncontested shots off James passes through the first two games.

What's more, James assisted to seven teammates, matching a season high.

"I can tell you just from right off the top of my head, there was a lot of breakdown defensively for our group," Horford said. "We didn't have that the first two games. It's something that we need to address and be better Monday if we want to have any sort of chance of winning."

The Celtics expected a firm response from the Cavaliers in Game 3 but still didn't look ready when it hit them.

"It's different, talking about it and doing it," Brown said. "I give Cleveland credit, but I think it's a lot to do with us."

Brown did stress that he believes the Celtics will come out with the proper intensity in Game 4.

"I'm super confident," he said. "I believe in our team, I believe in our coaching staff, and I believe in our front office. We'll be all right."