The Boston Celtics have seen just about everything break their way during the first round of the 2023 NBA Playoffs.
Well, except for that whole “Game 5 against the Atlanta Hawks” thing.
The Celtics saw an opportunity to move on to the Eastern Conference semifinals slip through their fingers Tuesday night with a blown fourth-quarter lead that saw Trae Young’s heroics helped erase a 12-point deficit for Atlanta and extend the series to at least six games. That was enough for fans at TD Garden to feel some type of way, but the Milwaukee Bucks’ historic collapse against the Miami Heat only furthered the feelings of that game being a missed opportunity for the Boston.
Is there a way to avoid the same disappointment in Game 6? Celtics head coach Joe Mazzulla seems to think so.
“Don’t turn it over seven times in the fourth quarter,” Mazzulla responded to a question about how the Celtics can avoid another upset, per Jay King of The Athletic.
Yep, that should do it.
The Celtics’ most reliable ball handlers fell into bad habits in the final frame, as Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown and Marcus Smart all produced boneheaded turnovers in the fourth quarter. Much like it did in the 2022 NBA Finals, the inability to take care of the ball doomed Boston. The C’s will hope to improve on that and finally close things out Thursday night at State Farm Arena.