Celtics At Their Worst During Fourth-Quarter Collapse In Crucial Game 4

Boston's stagnant offense led to a 107-97 defeat

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BOSTON — It was as if the Boston Celtics turned back the clocks at the most pivotal time.

The Celtics got away from their brand of basketball during the closing minutes Friday night, and it cost Boston massively as the Golden State Warriors claimed a 107-97 victory in Game 4 of the NBA Finals. With the win, the Warriors turn it into a best-of-three series with two of the three games in Golden State.

Boston’s ball movement came to a screeching halt as the group failed to pass, cut or get to the rim and instead settled for seven 3-pointers in the final five minutes. Boston took eight shots in total during the stretch.

Ultimately, the Celtics aided in their demise much like they had done when they were at their worst.

“I think we just kind of got a little stagnant,” Derrick White said after the game. “Everybody just kind of standing around looking at whoever had the ball, no player movement, no ball movement. We just got to do a better job executing down the stretch. I mean, that’s the difference in the game right there.”

Boston assisted on six of its nine made baskets in the first quarter and 11 of its 18 makes in the first half. The Celtics recorded six assists on seven made buckets in the fourth, a respectable number for sure, but then got away from what helped build them the lead.

“Like Derrick said, we got ball-watching the guy with the ball instead of just moving like we’ve been doing,” Marcus Smart said.

The Celtics built a five-point lead, 91-86, after Jaylen Brown went to the rim twice on a pair of hard-earned bucket. Marcus Smart then hit a 3-pointer with 5:18 left to give Boston a 94-90 advantage. After that 3-ball from Smart, the hosts were outscored by 14 points in the final five minutes.

“Offensively, stalled out a little bit,” Celtics head coach Ime Udoka said. “We did get some good shots off, but we would like to get a little bit more downhill and get some things to the rim and kick out. Credit to them (Warriors). They stepped up defensively when it counted. Our offense wasn’t as sharp as it needed to be, no doubt.”

The Celtics have undoubtedly got away from those stretches of iso-ball that caused them to start the season so poorly. But there’s also been times where the mindset rears its ugly head. And more often than not, that’s when the Celtics offense — so good when the ball is zipping around the perimeter — is at it’s worst.

The Celtics paid the price of that during their late collapse.

Golden State Warriors guard Steph Curry, Boston Celtics guard Marcus Smart
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