Boston Celtics struggle again in fourth quarter of Game 5 against Golden State Warriors

SAN FRANCISCO — A lot of things went in their favor for the Boston Celtics in Game 5 of the NBA Finals.

Golden State Warriors superstar Stephen Curry missed a 3-pointer for the first time in the playoffs. Jayson Tatum had a great shooting night after struggling with his shots throughout the series.

And, as a change, the Celtics not only didn’t get destroyed by the Warriors in the third quarter — they beat Golden State in the game.

But, after all, the Celtics’ feeling was a shame as Boston scored five points in the first eight minutes of the fourth quarter to watch Golden State win 104-94, giving the Warriors a chance Thursday. End the series in the evening at TD Garden.

“Obviously we were a little discouraged after getting such a good third in the fourth quarter and not executing like we needed to,” Al Horford said. “We felt like we had a chance and kind of started the game like we did early in the game. It was definitely, you know, hard.

“Our backs are against the wall. This is when we look at each other and we have to figure it out. We have a chance now. Have to figure it out. We don’t have a tomorrow.”

Somehow, Boston seemed to have a tomorrow after Game 5 — despite the Celtics’ horrific start. As the Warriors walked out of the gate like a house of fire, their frenetic play saw the Chase Center burst into applause after applause, while the Celtics were on the court like a regular season in the opening minutes. move up. February, not Game 5 of the Finals.

Turnovers — a hallmark of Boston’s playoff stats — raised their ugly heads again. The Celtics had 18 turnovers in Game 5, continuing a trend in the playoffs of going 13-2 when they had 15 or fewer turnovers, and now when they have 16 or less. Going 1-7 with more turnovers.

While many of them are in the Celtics’ signature style, with Boston casually tossing the ball around, they’re also the product of Golden State’s acceleration of the Celtics’ speed, while Boston was at its most attentive. In good times it manages to maintain that rhythm.

“Credit to them,” Jaylen Brown said. “They’re a very good defensive team. Disciplined and solid. They force us to do things that we obviously don’t do well. We just have to keep recognizing the game, watching the game and making adjustments in the game. Take care when it comes down to it. nice shot.

“Another game with too many turnovers. It cost us.”

It was also another game in which both Brown and Tatum were beaten by the Warriors. Brown had turnovers all night, finishing with 18 points, nine rebounds and four assists, but went 5-of-18 from the field and 0-of-5 from 3-point range. Tatum, meanwhile, ended up shooting 10-of-20 from the field and 5-of-9 from 3-point range, but made four turnovers in the fourth quarter and went 1-of-5 from the field. Like he might get tired from a game that’s more than 44 minutes long.

“We’ve been riding longer,” Celtics head coach Ime Udoka said when asked about Boston’s fourth-quarter decline after getting back into the game. “Fatigue probably played a role in that, whether it was physical or some decision-making mistakes, mistakes there. Kind of like a hot hand that brought us back into the game.”

After that disastrous first half — Boston trailed by just 12 points, not twice as far as the Celtics should have been — the Celtics broke them with their final playoff run. The expected playbook’s first 10 points in the second half, with a 49-point advantage over the first four games in a complete third-quarter victory over Golden State.

But Golden State scored eight points in the final 80 seconds of the third quarter to bring the lead back into the fourth, then closed the game with an 18-5 win over Boston eight minutes before the fourth quarter — And pushed the Celtics to the brink.

And, while Golden State once again deserves credit for the Celtics falling apart, it’s also the latest reminder — even within a game — of just how crazy this Boston team is swinging back and forth. After missing the first 12 3-pointers of the game, the Celtics made eight straight 3-pointers, one after the other. And, as they tore the Warriors to shreds in the third quarter, they executed their game plan repeatedly and clearly.

Then the fourth quarter started and everything fell apart.

“Yes, they improved their fitness,” Udoka said. “They’re converting more. As you saw in the third quarter, as long as we don’t stagnate, play against the crowd, it looks like it’s easy to get the shots we want.

“Like I said, just go from game to game. Not only that, but every quarter. When we move the ball, get into the box, break through, kick the ball, get the wing, the third quarter 35 points “We want open shots, we have to carry it through the fourth quarter. There were basically only 14 or so until the youngsters were late, apparently a day and night after the third and fourth quarters. “

Still, even after all of this, Boston has the confidence to dig itself out of this hole. Why? Well, part of that is because Boston has been in that position many times this postseason.

“I said it before: You better be confident, right?” Tatum asked. “We can’t win two games in one day. We just need to win one game on Thursday.

“We’ve been in this before. So it’s not over. Gotta win on Thursday. That’s all we have to worry about right now.”

Celtics beat defending champion Milwaukee Bucks 3-2 in Eastern Conference semifinals, then win Game 6 on the road in Milwaukee — Tatum scores 46 — before returning home and winning Game 7 Contest.

Boston then hit the road and won Game 7 of the Eastern Conference finals against the Miami Heat, though the Celtics had to survive an almost historic collapse in the final minutes of the fourth quarter to win that game.

Now, the Celtics had to dig another hole and hang the No. 18 banner in the TD Garden rafters.

“I had no choice,” Brown said when asked why he was more confident than ever in his team’s chances of winning an NBA championship after Monday’s loss. “We have no choice. Win or go home at this point. We’ve worked really hard all season to put ourselves in this position. I still feel like we have a lot of better basketball to play, we haven’t played the last two games yet. Contest.

“I want us to play Celtics basketball for the next two games and do whatever I can, as I can. I know the city has our back. It’s going to be a big Game 6. Looking forward to it.”

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