BOSTON — Game 7 of the Eastern Conference finals was there to be won for the Boston Celtics, but their 3-point shooting failed them when they needed it most.
The Celtics shot 7-for-39 from 3-point range in an 87-79 loss to LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers on Sunday night at TD Garden.
The Celtics were 0-for-11 on uncontested 3-pointers after the first quarter, and they shot 1-for-9 from beyond the arc in the last 6:04 of the fourth quarter.
Boston’s guards — Marcus Smart, Terry Rozier and Jaylen Brown — combined to shoot 3-for-26 from deep.
Here’s a look at the 3-point shot chart for the Celtics.
The most frustrating part of Boston’s poor shooting was a lot of these looks were good ones. Whether it was making the extra pass or kicking the ball out to the perimeter after a low-post double team, a lot of the Celtics’ 3-point attempts were open.
The NBA is a make-or-miss league, literally, and all of the Celtics’ misses caught up to them in Game 7.
Here are some other notes from Celtics-Cavs Game 7:
— Jayson Tatum (team-leading 24 points) passed Elgin Baylor and Alvan Adams to move into second place on the NBA’s all-time rookie playoff scoring list. He finished with 351 points in 19 playoff games, one point behind Kareem Abdul-Jabbar for the top spot.
— Here’s more on Tatum:
— The final 6:04 of the fourth quarter was a disaster for the Celtics. Tatum had just given them a 72-71 lead, but from that point on they were outscored 16-7 and made just two of their 13 shot attempts, including eight missed 3-pointers.
— Jaylen Brown’s defense was very good, specifically on LeBron James and contesting 3-point shots, but he struggled shooting. He opened the game 1-for-5 and was 3-for-13 five minutes into the third quarter. Brown finished with 13 points on 5-for-18 shooting overall and 3-for-12 on 3-pointers.
— Terry Rozier also struggled from the field, shooting 2-for-14 and missing all 10 of his 3-point attempts. Rozier’s best performance of the series was in Game 6 when he led Boston with 28 points.
— LeBron James improved his Game 7 record to 6-2. He’s won six consecutive Game 7s and is making his eighth straight NBA Finals appearance. The record for consecutive NBA Finals appearance is 10 by Celtics legend Bill Russell from 1957 through 1966. Russell, as well as Celtic greats Sam Jones and Tom Heinsohn (each with nine) are the only players to make more consecutive Finals appearances than James.
— James soon will play in the ninth NBA Finals of his career. That’s more than every team except the Celtics, Los Angeles Lakers, Philadelphia 76ers and Golden State Warriors.
— Jeff Green, who the Celtics drafted fifth overall in 2007 and soon after traded him as part of the deal for Ray Allen, scored 19 points while filling in for Kevin Love (concussion) in the starting lineup. James’ supporting cast has received a lot of criticism this season, and in this series. Someone needed to step up without Love in Game 7 and Green filled that role.
“Honestly, I ignore it, because I know what our team is capable of,” Green said of the criticism James’ teammates take. “Like I said, everybody is going to have their opinion of what LeBron has around him. We lose, we have a terrible team. We win, oh, we knew they could do it. You know, it’s the way it is.
“We ignore it. We ignore it. We just go in the gym each day and we work hard and we try to get better, and that’s why when the time comes, we get on the floor, we know we have all the confidence in the world in our team that we can battle with anybody. I mean, we keep all the negative energy out, and we continue to stay positive and be with one another and have each other’s back.”
— The Celtics now are 37-1 in series during which they held a 2-0 lead.
Thumbnail photo via David Butler II/USA TODAY Sports