In contrast to their four games to one opening round playoff series victory versus the New York Knicks, the Boston Celtics are desperately trying to prevent the sand in the hour glass from running out in their best-of-seven Eastern Conference semifinals match up with the Miami Heat.

Collectively, juxtapose with the Heat, the Celtics looked old, slow as they put themselves into an 0-2 hole. That hole looked like a canyon. Their Game 1 99-90 defeat on Sunday was followed by an even more telling 102-91 loss in Game 2.

But Game 3 was a different story as Kevin Garnett’s 28-point, 18-rebound effort and Rajon Rondo’s comeback from a dislocated elbow helped the Celtics prevail, 97-81, on Saturday night.

Coming into the series, it would have been superfluous to point out that the Heat were more athletic than the Celtics with LeBron James and Dwayne Wade holding decided advantages over everyone on the Celtics’ roster.

But after the first two games in Miami, the gap in athleticism was glaring. The Heat were quicker, faster and far more reflexive. Consequently, they have imposed their will on the seemingly two-steps slower Celtics.

In Game 1, it was Wade’s 38 points that put the Celtics to bed. In Game 2, James’s 35 was the lullaby.

“{There’s} nothing we can do about it,” said Celtics coach Doc Rivers of the back-to-back beat downs.

“We’ve got a third game and we’ve got to take care of that. Whatever the past is, it is,” dismissed Rivers after Game 2. “But we can’t allow them to play like this, or it’s going to be tough at our place.”

There didn’t appear to be much Rivers and his crew could do. At least not until Game 3. Game 4 is Monday night in Boston.