Losing is good motivation.
There are no good losses. Let's get that out of the way right up front. Winning is always preferable to losing, in particular (and we are into Captain Obvious territory here) in the playoffs. With that said, there are some losses that you can use for motivation and teaching. In fact, I'd argue that you can learn from any loss.
The Magic steamrolled through the first two rounds and when the Celtics punched them in the throat, they staggered back and fell to a 3-0 deficit. The Celtics have been rolling lately, winning 6 games in a row dating back to the Cleveland series. Well, they just got punched back (finally). How will they respond?
Orlando came out the aggressor on Monday night and they deserved to win that game going away. It only speaks, I believe, to the Celtics resolve that they were even in that game; never mind with a chance to win it in the closing minutes.
I'm convinced that part of that has to do with Rondo being slowed by injury (spasms apparently). He was sluggish and that made him reach on a few quick early fouls. Without his normal crisp running of the offense, things got stale real quick. Proof once again that he's our Most Valuable Player.
With that said, the team as a whole was getting beat to loose balls. The Magic simply wanted it more. They were in a mix of "desperation mode" and "nothing to lose mode." Which as you might guess is dangerous. The hope is that now they have proven what they set out to prove and that will be enough. (Note: Wojo finds this notion laughable and I find it hard to argue with him)
But make no mistake, if the Celtics come out flat like that against the Lakers (or Suns?), they are going to get smoked. Don't get me wrong, the 08 Finals taught me never to give up on a game and never to count this team totally out (especially not when Ray can go NBA Jam "On Fire" at any moment). But if the Lakers get going it will be like stopping a locomotive.
So if you are looking for a silver lining to last night's loss it is this. The Celtics will not be overconfident headed back to Orlando, they'll be focused. They won't look past the Magic, they'll be staring down at them. No loss is good, but you can get good out of it.