The Boston Celtics’ offense failed at the worst possible time in Game 4 of the 2022 NBA Finals, causing the Golden State Warriors to seize control in the fourth quarter en route to a 107-97 win to level the series.
After a 91-86 lead with 7:32 points remaining, the Celtics were outplayed 21-6 for the rest of the night. Boston shot 2 of 12 from the field over that span.
Kendrick Perkins calls out Tatum after Celtics star struggles in Game 4
What happened to offensive execution at such a critical point in the game?
“A bit stuttered offensively,” Celtics head coach Ime Udoka said in his post-game press conference. “We got some good looks from three. But other than what Al did, I wouldn’t say we stagnated.
“We got some good shots but we’d like to go downhill a bit more and bring some things to the edge and throw out. credit to her. They strengthened defensively when it mattered. Our offense wasn’t as sharp as it needed to be, no doubt.”
A few things have plagued the Celtics. Ball motion wasn’t crisp enough. Celtics players often stood around and couldn’t get the ball. Too much possession ended in an isolation play at the end of the shot clock. Boston also didn’t attack the offensive glass very well. Golden State had a 16-11 advantage in offensive rebounds and a 19-12 advantage in second chance points.
“We had a lot of opportunities,” said Udoka. “Every time we got a five, six point lead, it felt like we made some bad decisions, whether it was rushing shots in traffic or just standing around and looking at each other there a little bit. I’m not sure we tried to decide too much based on discrepancies.
“When we did some off-ball action and got some exercise, we looked really good. We wanted to get the ball up quickly and get on an offense. If we don’t have anything, let them work the clock anyway. It often felt like we were standing around not sure who to pursue, and that led to these stalled holdings.”
The Celtics failed to take a 3-1 lead in a row and now the final is a tie and the Warriors are stealing back home field advantage. This Celtics team, for whatever reason, refuses to take the easy route. But they have responded well to adversity in the playoffs with a 7-0 record from losses. Boston will need to show the same resilience at the Golden State Monday night to avoid falling behind in the series.
“That has come with our season, especially this postseason. We had to do it the difficult way,” said Udoka. “We’ve been battle tested on a few shows, Milwaukee, Miami. We must do it again.
“Obviously it could have been an easier way if you win tonight. But it is what it is. We’re 2-2 now. We know we can do it. We’ve done it before. Keep your head .” up and let’s get one out on the street.”