That makes some sense and, if you choose to look at it this way, Boston has gotten that brief bit of competences out of its system and the series can now resume its previous personality: First team to 85 points wins. The Sixers would take that deal, but the Celtics would probably rather stay hot.
"It's a make-miss league. Always will be," Boston coach Doc Rivers said. "When you make shots, everything looks better."
Particularly the scoreboard. Unfortunately for the Sixers, this wasn't just a matter of the Celtics throwing in some prayers or getting a lot of fortuitous bounces from the rim. This was a graduate lesson in creating shots that have a great chance to go in, whether on open looks from the perimeter or high-percentage shots in the basket area.
"I thought we got shots the right way. In to out," Rivers said.
Going inside as the first option led to 50 points in the paint for Boston and led to a shooting percentage (51.9 percent) that the Sixers weren't going to be able to overcome.
"They were killing us inside the paint," said Thaddeus Young, who finally had a decent game for the Sixers but saw it wasted on this night. "They came out physically and forced us to shoot jump shots. That led to long rebounds and those were opportunities for them to get out on the break."
In a shootout game, the Sixers usually can't answer, but they might need to in order to continue this series much longer. There is always the possibility that Boston's improved shooting wasn't just a one-game thing. If that is the case, the series could effectively end on Friday night in the Wells Fargo Center. If the Celtics go up three games to one, that would likely mark the final home game of the season for the Sixers.
"We wanted to send a message and I think we did that," Boston point guard Rajon Rondo said. "I really believe we needed that game."
They don't need Friday's game as much, having regained home court advantage in the series. But if they are focused now on getting to the next round and having a better chance to beat either Miami or Indiana, then they need to leave as much tread on their old set of tires as possible.
"They gave us a good shot and we have to find a way to answer back," Young said. "We've got to find a way to make them take tough shots."
It is the reverse of where the Sixers usually put their emphasis, but the best way to make the Celtics take tough shots is to make them take the ball out of the basket before starting their offense. If the Sixers can score, their defense gets a whole lot better. But where will that scoring come from?
It probably won't be from the deep perimeter - although their eight three-point baskets in Game 3 were their most since April 16 - and it probably won't be under the basket. That leaves the dead zone between the paint and the three-point line, where the Sixers shot 23 percent in Game 3.
If the Sixers can just execute well enough to get the big men loose for those pick-and-pop jumpers from medium range, that could be a big difference right there. If the jump shooters like Jrue Holiday and Andre Iguodala can occasionally ignore the lure of the three-pointer and pump-fake their way to a medium-range jumper, that can add some needed efficiency to the offense. The Sixers are shooting 39.3 percent from the field in the series now, and if that doesn't go up, they are definitely going down.
"Boston has been through all this before, losing home court and then going on the road and winning," coach Doug Collins said. "We're not like that. We haven't seen everything, and right now this is all new for us. We're learning through this."
They have already learned that the Boston Celtics were not going to shoot down to their level the entire series, and the Sixers accepted that one burst in Game 3 as something of an inevitability. The plot better change quickly, though, or the Celtics will show them something else about this series that is inevitable.
Contact columnist Bob Ford at firstname.lastname@example.org, read his blog at www.philly.com/postpatterns, and follow @bobfordsports on Twitter.