After OG Anunoby ripped Boston’s heart out by nailing a 3 with 0.5 on the clock in game 4, the Celtics looked to regain control of the series. Instead, sloppy passing, poor shooting, and questionable decision making lead to a Boston loss. Toronto evened up the series with a 100 to 93 victory.
Celtics shooting woes
Without a doubt, the biggest issue for Boston in game 4 was their shooting. Their outside touch was non-existent. Jaylen Brown could not get anything to land. He finished the contest a dubious 4/18 for 14 points and zero assists. While this might be hard to fathom, Brown was the only Celtic to hit more than one from beyond the arc. It is nearly impossible to beat the defending champs when only a single starter connects on multiple 3’s.
While Brown’s shooting, or lack thereof, will draw most of the attention, he was certainly not the only Celtic to struggle offensively. Kemba Walker (4-9) and Jayson Tatum (10-18) both ended the night with fine shooting percentages. However, both finished their night 1 of 6 from three-point land.
If the Celtics want to take control of the series again, they are going to have to do better than 7/35 from three.
Another area where Boston needs improvement is taking care of the ball. Especially in the second half, the Celtics took themselves out of the game by not playing smart basketball.
Whether it be a Marcus Smart turning the ball over, Tatum driving into multiple defenders, or Brown continuing to jack shots when they are not falling, the Celtics need to play crisper offensive.
They were forcing passes, drives, and shots that were simply not there. In the 4th, the Raptors did not completely knock the Celtics out until there was under a minute to go. As ugly as the game was, Boston had a chance to steal a win. Unfortunately, they were never able to cut the deficit to one possession. Tatum’s offensive foul on Kyle Lowry, who sure as hell made sure the refs noticed Tatum’s arm extend, sealed the game.
Any good news?
For the first time since game 1, the Celtics have to be the more desperate team in this series. Loosing 3 in a row would be an absolute disaster, so expect Boston to play smarter, more balanced offensively. Keep an eye on a bounce-back effort from Brown.
Also, their defense did put together another solid performance. After a strong 3rd quarter, the Raptors were held to just 19 points in the 4th.
With the series now knotted up at 2-2, it is now the Celtics turn to deliver the counter-punch.
Story by Chad Jones
Follow Chad on Twitter @shutupchadjones