Celtics Notes: Third Quarter Struggles Helped Sink Boston In Game 4 Loss

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May 6, 2019

BOSTON — Well, the Celtics are now on the brink of elimination.

Boston dropped Game 4 of its Eastern Conference semifinal series against the Milwaukee on Monday with a 113-101 loss at TD Garden, handing the Bucks their third straight win of the series.

Now down 3-1, Game 5 is do-or-die for the Celtics.

The Celtics had a chance to break things open in the third quarter with both Giannis Antetokounmpo and Khris Middleton on the bench following their fourth fouls of the evening. But Boston just couldn’t capitalize on the opportunity, and it cost them in the end.

During the 8:17 Antetokounmpo was benched, the C’s actually were outscored 21-13, shooting just 23 percent in that time. It would certainly come back to bite Boston, who lost by 12 points Monday evening.

Despite glimmers of hope with moments of impressive play, head coach Brad Stevens said it all boiled down to runs.

“I thought we did a pretty good job of finding the right shot most of the night. But certainly those runs, you can look back and say those have gotten us and those have usually created a lot of errors on both sides,” he said.

Now, Boston is tasked with avoiding elimination when they head to Milwaukee for Game 5. But Stevens said the team will face the challenge.

“It’s win-or-go-home. You do the same thing you’ve been doing all along,” Stevens said. “You play the next possession to win it, and that’s it. Focus on that. It takes a lot of mental fortitude. It takes a lot of mental toughness, and it reveals a lot. … We don’t want to be in this position, but we are. And we’ve got to go to Milwaukee and do everything we can to give ourselves another chance to play here on Friday night.”

Here are some more notes from Bucks-Celtics Game 4:

— Although he led the team with 23 points, Kyrie Irving was all over the map Monday evening. Irving is 19-for-62 over the last three games, a worrisome stat for those hoping he would help lead the team through the postseason.

When asked if Kyrie ran out of gas toward the end of the game, Stevens disagreed.

“I thought he looked pretty good going to the basket there late,” he said.

— Neither the Celtics nor the Bucks had much success with their 3-pointers in Game 4. Actually, they downright stunk.

The two clubs went a combined 17-for-78 from three, a dismal 21.8 percent average. Boston landed just eight of 37 3-point attempts, while Milwaukee netted just nine of their 41 attempts.

Al Horford (three-of-eight) and Antetokounmpo (two-of-five) were the most consistent from three for their respective teams.

— On the plus side, Marcus Morris had himself one heck of a night, earning his first double-double of the 2019 postseason. Morris had 18 points and 14 rebounds (a career high for him) for the C’s in Game 4.

— Oh yeah, and Marcus Smart is back.

Monday night marked Smart’s first appearance in the 2019 postseason after recovering from a torn left oblique over the last several weeks. The guard entered the game with 6:16 left in the first quarter, causing the crowd to erupt.

The crowd also lost its collective mind when he sank his first shot of the evening.

Smart played 14 minutes throughout Game 4, garnering three points, one rebound, and two assists along the way.

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