Jayson Tatum took responsibility for his team’s loss as turnovers cost the Boston Celtics in a 107-97 loss to the Golden State Warriors in Game 4 of the NBA Finals.
For three quarters, the Celtics answered almost every shot the Warriors threw at them.
But mistakes and an inability to fend off a final Golden State charge in the fourth quarter cost Boston. Now, with the series tied, they find themselves in a best-of-three series with Game 5 scheduled for Monday night at Golden State.
The team that has made resilience its calling card in unavoidable situations, will now have to do it once again if they hope to win the 18th franchise championship.
Tatum was disappointed with his performance, although he finished with 23 points, 11 rebounds and six assists. But he didn’t shoot the ball well — he was just 8 of 23 from the field — and had six of Boston’s 16 turnovers that led to 19 Golden State points.
Boston has shown that 16 is a number that most often leads to defeat. The Celtics are now 1-6 in the playoffs when committing 16 or more turnovers. When they commit 15 or less, they are 13-2.
“It’s on me. I have to be better,” Tatum said. “I know I impact the game in other ways, but I have to be more efficient, shoot the ball better, finish on the rim better.”
Marcus Smart said the Celtics didn’t play well at the critical moment.
“We just didn’t run late in the stretch,” said Smart, who scored 18 points. “They made a run at the start of the third. We backed it up, made our own run. After that we just couldn’t execute.”
The setback eclipsed a big night for Boston big man Robert Williams, who had seven points, 12 rebounds, four assists and two blocks before being benched as he appeared to hobble on his surgically repaired left knee.
He missed the final 3:41 of the game, but coach Ime Udoka said he didn’t notice anything wrong with Williams and was not told of any issues.
Williams has been listed day to day throughout the playoffs and how much he can play in Game 5 will be a concern.
The Celtics appeared to be in control of Game 4 and were destined to take a decisive series lead, hitting 15 three-pointers and responding to several runs scored by the Warriors.
Things changed in the fourth as Boston’s turnovers continued to rise. Then when they couldn’t score late in the game, their fate was sealed.
The Celtics took a 94-90 lead with 5:18 left in the fourth before missing their next six shots. Golden State took advantage, scoring 10 straight points and never trailed again.
Boston was outscored 28-19 in the final 12 minutes.
Udoka said his team got caught on the ball at times and it had an effect on how the ball moved in the half court.
“We had a lot of chances, obviously. Every time we had a five or six point lead, we felt like we were making bad decisions,” Udoka said. “Whether it’s rushing shots in traffic or … standing and looking at each other there for a bit.”
If there’s any comfort for the Celtics, it’s that they’re 7-0 in the playoffs after a loss.
“There are some things we need to clean up. Would we have liked to win today and lead 3-1? That would have been the best-case scenario,” Tatum said. “But it’s the finals. The art of competition, they came here feeling like they had to win. It wasn’t easy. I think that’s kind of the beauty of it, that it It’s not going to be easy. It shouldn’t be.”
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