Celtics collapse in the closing minutes of game five

Celtics collapse
Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

The Boston Celtics collapse in game five of their best-of-seven series with the Atlanta Hawks was their own fault, Tuesday night.

How it happened

The Celtics got off to a relatively ugly start, as has been typical in this series. Atlanta led by three points at the end of the first quarter. They then dominated the second quarter, taking a comfortable 66-58 lead into the halftime break.

Jayson Tatum didn’t have his best effort, finishing with just 19 points. Jaylen Brown picked up the slack, as he was 15-23 from the field, ending the game with 35 points.

The Celtics cruised for a large portion of the game. Boston led by 13 points with 6:10 left to play. The Hawks continued to fire back with countless three pointers that would keep them in the game. They never quite went away, and as soon as the Celtics opened the door, Atlanta scurried back to tie it at 111-111. They can thank their superstar point guard Trae Young for that.

The Hawks did need some help to complete the comeback though. Celtic’s players admitted that their carelessness and lack of discipline hurt them down the stretch.

“Just some careless mistakes from all of us that kind of came back to bite us in the end,” Tatum said, “that I’m sure we wish we could have back.”

The Athletic

Great shooting by Atlanta down the stretch helped them tremendously, but Boston continued to shoot themselves in the foot. Marcus Smart had an unwise reach-in foul, Tatum and Brown turned the ball over on ugly mistakes, and Rob Williams missed a simple put-back. All of these plays in the fourth quarter were brutal for the fans in TD Garden to watch.

After the game, Brown believed they beat themselves and could’ve avoided any late game heroics with smarter play.

Going forward

The Celtics can’t set their eyes on the Philadelphia 76ers just yet. They failed to close the series out, so they’ll travel to Atlanta for game six, Thursday. The Hawks have built themselves some momentum, and might have a chance at dethroning the defending Eastern Conference champions if they can force a game seven.

Philadelphia fans are certainly thrilled, as the Celtics will need to exert themselves more in this series, and potentially lose it. The 76ers swept the Brooklyn Nets in their first round series, so they’ve been collecting numerous rest days ahead of the second round matchup. It’s a major benefit for a team that has key players dealing with nagging injuries.

This Celtics collapse isn’t the first, but it’ll have to be the last if they want to return to the NBA Finals again this year.

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