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Celtics-Cavs takeaways: C's win streak snapped after dismal fourth quarter

Celtics-Cavs takeaways: C's win streak snapped after dismal fourth quarter originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston

Three Key Storylines

The Boston Celtics' 11-game win streak was snapped in devastating fashion Tuesday night in Cleveland.

They appeared to be cruising toward another decisive victory with a 22-point lead in the fourth quarter. The Cavaliers didn't back down, however, erasing the deficit over the final 8:52 and shocking the C's with a dramatic 105-104 victory. Boston's defeat also snapped a nine-game win streak on the road.

Dean Wade was the unlikely hero for Cleveland, dropping 20 of his 23 points in the final frame. Jarrett Allen added 21 points.

Jayson Tatum notched a game-high 26 points, but only four of those came in the second half. Kristaps Porzingis and Jaylen Brown chipped in 24 and 21 points in the losing effort, respectively.

The Celtics (48-13) will look to start a new win streak when they visit the defending champion Denver Nuggets (42-19) on Thursday night. Before we turn the page to that marquee matchup, here are three takeaways from Tuesday's wild game.

A disastrous fourth quarter

It's been a while since we've seen the Celtics play as poorly as they did over the final 12 minutes of Tuesday night's game.

In their first taste of clutch time since Feb. 11 in Miami, the C's crumbled. They watched their 22-point lead disappear as Cleveland -- specifically Dean Wade -- made shot after shot. Wade drilled six 3s and outscored Boston 20-17 in the quarter. He put the icing on the cake with the game-winner.

After Wade's clutch putback dunk, Tatum had a chance to win the game on a last-second jumper but couldn't get his shot to fall. Cavaliers guard Darius Garland was whistled for a foul on the play, but the call was overturned to seal Cleveland's win.

The Cavaliers drilled eight of their 11 3-pointers in the fourth quarter. Meanwhile, the Celtics missed all eight of their attempts.

Boston locked Cleveland down defensively for most of the night, but one disastrous quarter was all it took for the win streak to come to an end.

Tale of two halves for Jayson Tatum

Tatum has played at an MVP level as of late and he continued to do so in the first half of Tuesday night's defeat.

Coming off his second Eastern Conference Player of the Month honor of the season, Tatum started March on fire. The 26-year-old put on a show against the Dallas Mavericks (32 points, 10-19 FG) and Golden State Warriors (27 points, 9-13 FG). He picked up where he left off with a 13-point first quarter on a perfect 3-of-3 from 3-point range, including one to beat the buzzer.

Tatum tallied 22 points on 7-of-9 shooting -- 5-of-6 from deep -- in the first half. Unfortunately for the C's, he added only four points over the final two frames. In addition to Wade's 20-point fourth-quarter outburst, shutting Tatum down in crunch time was the key to the Cavs' stunning victory.

Despite the rough second half, Tatum remains red-hot from beyond the arc. He's 14-for-23 (60.9 percent) on 3-pointers over his last three games.

Kristaps Porzingis does his part

Porzingis sat out Sunday's blowout win over the Warriors with a left quad contusion but showed few signs of rust against the Cavs.

The Latvian big man got off to a hot start with 10 points, four rebounds, and two blocks in the first quarter. He also earned his first corner 3-pointer of the season and had a priceless reaction when the shot was changed from a 2-pointer to a 3.

As Celtics stat guru Dick Lipe notes, Porzingis leads the C's with 14 games in which he has scored at least 10 first-quarter points. He tacked on 10 more points in the second half, including a clutch and-1 with 36.7 remaining in the fourth quarter to briefly retake the lead.

As awful of an ending it was for Boston, Porzingis was a bright spot. He finished with 24 points on 9-of-18 shooting (3-6 3-PT), nine rebounds, three blocks, three assists, and two steals.