CLEVELAND — Missed dunks and missed alternatives — that was the story of Sport four for a Boston Celtics staff that squandered an opportunity to place the Cleveland Cavaliers‘ backs in opposition to the wall within the Jap Convention finals.
The Celtics dug themselves an early first-quarter gap highlighted by three missed dunk makes an attempt on an evening Boston would miss a staggering 15 dunks and layups general. And regardless of quite a few second-half surges, the Celtics by no means really acquired over the hump because the Cavaliers fended them off en path to a 111-102 triumph at Quicken Loans Area.
“It’s the best two out of three to go to the NBA Finals. Doesn’t get better than that,” stated Celtics coach Brad Stevens. “Ultimately, anybody that didn’t think this was going to be tough — I mean, everything is tough. In this deal, it’s a blast to have to grit your teeth, get up off the mat and go after it again. That’s part of it.”
The collection is tied at 2. Sport 5 is in Boston on Wednesday.
The Celtics will not discover watching movie of Monday’s loss very therapeutic — there have been head-slapping miscues within the first half and quite a few missed probabilities to drag shut within the fourth quarter.
What’s extra, the Cavaliers generated 15 complete factors immediately off the 15 missed dunks and layups that Boston had in Sport four.
“Very frustrating. But that’s life,” Celtics guard Jaylen Brown stated. “You keep moving.”
Boston was a mixed 1-of-6 capturing with three turnovers any time it reduce Cleveland’s result in single digits within the second half of Sport four, based on ESPN Stats & Info. The Celtics by no means pulled nearer than seven.
The Celtics have been making their most spirited cost of the evening early within the fourth body when Al Horford raced off a pindown display from Marcus Sensible and acquired a wide-open look from past the Three-point arc on the suitable wing.
It is a shot that has been automated for Horford for many of the postseason and he held his follow-through excessive because it left his hand, just for the shot to clang laborious off the again rim.
The Celtics, down 13 getting into the ultimate body, had pulled inside eight with just a little burst that culminated with Horford shedding two defenders on the baseline earlier than a dunk that reduce Cleveland’s result in 96-88.
However Horford’s missed Three-pointer was the primary of 5 probabilities the Celtics squandered over a 98-second span earlier than Cleveland scored once more. Boston missed three photographs and dedicated a turnover earlier than large man Aron Baynes drew a foul following an offensive rebound.
Even then, Baynes missed one of many two free throws and Boston by no means acquired nearer than seven the remainder of the way in which.
“I think we had to tighten up a little bit more and we didn’t do that. We let it slip away a couple times when we had [the deficit] at 8,”Terry Rozier stated. “And that’s something that we have to get better at — especially being on the road. We’ve gotta take good shots, better shots.”
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It was a maddening evening for the Celtics, who had a sequence within the first quarter the place they missed three dunks. Each Brown and rookie Jayson Tatum missed makes an attempt at loud jams whereas Horford missed one as effectively (although he was saved by a foul name).
“Just going too fast, too excited. Just needed to slow down,” Brown stated. “We missed a bunch of easy opportunities. We made some bad turnovers and things like that. But we still had opportunities to get into this game and to win. We just have to do just a little more on the road and take some better shots and we’ll be fine.”
Boston was additional hindered by foul bother with Marcus Morris pressured to be just a little cautious after selecting up three early fouls. Morris was notably irked when he was whistled for kicking his leg out on a made Three-pointer that led to one of many extra pronounced scoring swings of the sport.
“[Foul trouble was] tough, man. I don’t really want to speak on that and get a fine,” Morris stated. “At the end of the day, I work hard, work my ass off to defend this position. The ticky-tack fouls — it is what it is.”
Requested concerning the issue in defending with foul bother, Morris added, “It’s tough. You’re already playing against the best player in the league, and you can be a little bit physical, it’s tough to guard him. You can’t do anything and it’s fouls, fouls. We almost had to give up baskets.”
The Celtics can discover positives within the loss as they have been way more aggressive than in Saturday’s Sport Three shellacking. However will probably be laborious to not really feel like they missed an opportunity to actually put a stranglehold on the collection, and now they have to return to Boston for what quantities to a best-of-three collection.
“We talked about it in the locker room: best of three to go to the NBA Finals. It’s pretty exciting,” Tatum stated.