With just over 10 minutes left in the Boston Celtics’ loss to the Atlanta Hawks on Friday night, Jaylen Brown hit a 3-point shot to pull Boston within a point. From there it felt like things could go either way.
Atlanta led most of the game thanks to its bench and strong finishes in the first two quarters, but Boston made it interesting with a big run in the third. The Celtics had a lot riding on this game looking to extend good play and a two-game win streak. After Bogdan Bogdanovic scored on the other end of Brown’s shot, the Celtics got back within one thanks to Jayson Tatum.
Neither player would find the basket for the rest of the quarter, though, as Boston fell into some bad habits and Atlanta closed things out 108-92.
“We failed to get stops. Turned the ball over too much. That was the name of the game right there,” Brown reflected after the game. “We didn’t deserve to win that game. We play well in stretches but I turned the ball over too much. We turned the ball over too much and that’s what cost us the game.
Still, they led Boston’s scoring efforts. Brown had 26 points, 12 rebounds and three assists in a pretty solid effort. Tatum’s offensive production piped up towards the end, finishing with 20 points, six rebounds, four assists, a steal and two blocks.
But down the stretch, instead of driving to the basket, they reverted to some shots they hadn’t been hitting all game — the general self-criticism from Tatum, Brown and coach Ime Udoka after the game.
“We haven’t been very good in the fourth quarter. And that translates from everything, execution from top to bottom,” Brown said. “It just hasn’t been great this year and especially in those moments, because we’ve lost too many games on the line. We’ve learned in those moments, but we got to definitely do something different.”
“This isn’t where I or anybody wanted to be coming into the season,” Tatum admitted postgame.
“And it’s not what we work hard for, what ourselves and our fans are used to. So understanding that, yeah, we can feel pretty good about how we played the last two games. But we didn’t accomplish anything and just kind of wanted everybody to just stayed locked in. Obviously we didn’t do that for 48 minutes tonight. But you know, I’m excited about tomorrow. Especially back-to-backs, get a chance to redeem yourself and forget about this.”