After a tragic Game 3 loss to a last-second buzzer-beater, the Celtics did everything in their power to hand Game 4 to the Toronto Raptors. In both games, the Celtics lost their touch from deep, going 16/64 from three in Games 3 and 4 (7/35 in Game 4 alone). This put the Celtics at a disadvantage all night, but the C’s managed to keep the game close throughout thanks to their aggressiveness attacking the paint. Their inability to get on a run and put pressure on the Raptors, in the end, proved to be their downfall, as the Raptors’ six-point lead seemed to be the hump the Celtics couldn’t get over.
Jaylen Brown had a poor night from three, going 0-8 to start the night, but was able to hit two big threes in the final couple minutes to keep the game in reach. He was getting the looks he wanted, but sometimes the ball doesn’t go in the net. He had the confidence to keep taking his shot and because of that, gave us a chance late, and that is a positive I can take away from this loss.
Tatum also struggled for most of the night, as his issue was that he had to play through contact all night. Jayson seemed to hurt his leg in the first half and never seemed to get in a rhythm because of it. The Raptors guarded him chest to chest all night, and he never stepped up to the pressure. I’m going to need to see less talking and more playing out of him, I agree with a lot of his gripes with the referee, but there comes a time when you need to stop complaining and to play through it. It’s the playoffs, the referees let more shit go, and it’s on you to adjust to it.
The Raptors switched their defense multiple times throughout the night, proving to be a successful strategy to stopping the Celtics scoring. This now is on Brad Stevens to figure out, to be a championship team, you need to have an answer for a zone defense. If nothing changes, this will be a very ugly rest of the series, and wins will be decided on an individual’s performance to pull the team out of the drought. Hopefully, this series won’t go down that road, and the Celtics can decipher Nurse’s defensive tactics and get the offense back to where it should be.
The Celtics’ next meeting with the Raptors will be on Monday, September 7th, and will once again take place at the mutual site of Orlando, Florida.