Boston Celtics, knowing ‘there’s still a lot of great basketball ahead’, confident after Game 4 loss


SAN FRANCISCO — The Boston Celtics know they once again failed to take advantage of home-court advantage by losing Game 4 of the NBA Finals to the Golden State Warriors on Friday night.

But as the series returns here to the Chase Center for Game 5 on Monday night, with the Finals now turning into a best-of-3 affair for the NBA title, Boston remains confident it can once again secure the away win you need. the job done


“You can get something positive out of anything,” Celtics forward Jaylen Brown said. “Obviously, I think we can be in a better position than we are, but we’re not. It’s 2-2. Still, nothing to hang your head over. We still have a lot of great basketball ahead of us.” We take our mistakes and learn from them and apply it to the best of our ability in the future. I still think we’re in a great place.

“I’m excited to see how we respond in the next few days. I mean, it’s exciting. It’s the biggest stage in the world. I’m going to take our group, our guys, against anybody. So I’m looking forward to it.”

There are plenty of reasons for Brown to be optimistic about Boston’s chances against the Warriors. Yes, the Celtics will have to win at least one more game on the road to win the NBA title, but so far in these playoffs, they’ve had more success away from home than playing at TD Garden. Entering Game 5, the Celtics are 8-3 in road games this postseason, compared to just 6-5 at home.

On top of that, Boston has won all seven games it has played after a loss so far in these playoffs, and has gone 13-1 in those games since the team began turning its season around in late January.

“Obviously we put ourselves in a position to stretch the lead and be up 3-1,” Celtics coach Ime Udoka said. “But the bottom line is we’re 2-2 and we earned it too, not being down 0-2 or 1-2 or whatever the case may be. And I’m sure they said the same thing about Golden State after we beat them here. We know which is a long series. Like I said, we’ve been battle-tested in two seven-game series in Milwaukee and Miami.”

Those experiences against Milwaukee and Miami in the Eastern Conference semifinals and finals, respectively, are also part of the foundation for Boston’s continued confidence. The Celtics went on the road and won elimination games against both teams in their own buildings, giving them confidence that they can do the same thing this time.

“[Game 4] It was a tough loss, and we understand that,” Tatum said of the Celtics’ 107-97 loss. “We’ve been here before. That is [the] Third time in a row I feel like we’ve been here. So we know what it takes. We know what we have to do and attention to detail and things like that. I’m confident as I have been throughout the playoffs, confident in the fact that we will respond and play better for most of the game. [Monday].”

The other factor Boston is focused on is that there are clear things the Celtics can control, and if they do, it should lead to positive outcomes. When Tatum has at least seven assists in a game this season, Boston is 18-2, including recording 15-game winning streak. Similarly, when Boston commits 15 or fewer turnovers this postseason, the Celtics are 14-2, including wins in Games 1 and 3.

By contrast, when Boston commits 16 or more turnovers, they are 0-6, including their losses in Games 2 and 4.

“I think the narrative shifts to [Steph] Curry and what he’s doing,” Udoka said. “But in our wins and losses, they’re scoring the same points. A lot has depended on our offense, up to its point, in the fourth quarter. But even throughout the game, we had several chances, being up five, six, seven and bad offense or turnovers got them back in the game. The difference in the game where we stretched the lead was that we took advantage of those opportunities. We were solid. And against this team, any time you run a bad offense, you fumble, you fumble live, let them out, we know how quickly they can get back in the game.

“That was the case in Game 4 when we had our chances.”

One thing that hangs over the Celtics heading into Game 5, as it has throughout this series, is the status of starting center Robert Williams III, who has been dealing with ongoing soreness in his left knee.

Williams was +6 in 31 minutes in Game 4, finishing with 7 points, 12 rebounds, 4 assists, a steal and two blocks, but called out of the game with less than four minutes left in the fourth quarter after an awkward landing. on that sick left knee. Williams has been dealing with a bruised bone in his knee; he underwent meniscus surgery two and a half months ago.

However, both he and Udoka said he was feeling better on Sunday and that they were optimistic he would be on the court once again in Game 5.

“I feel good,” Williams said. “A little sore, but on the side of the best days [I’ve had].

“I was actually looking for the clip [to see what happened]. I can’t necessarily tell you if it was the jump or the landing, but typical pain, man. But like I said, I feel good.”

Udoka went on to say that there was no specific play that triggered Williams’ injury, and that while Williams will have to go through his normal pregame tests to determine if he can go, Udoka was confident he could.