Celtics collapse in 4th, drop 118-114 OT loss to Cavaliers

The Boston Celtics fell to the Cleveland Cavaliers 118-114 in overtime Monday night, marking another frustrating loss for a team spinning its tires a bit as of late. Donovan Mitchell led the way for the Cavs, ending the night with 40 points to go with 11 rebounds. Boston is now 45-21 on the season.

Boston was without the services of Jayson Tatum and Al Horford, as well as Robert Williams III, who will be sidelined with a hamstring sprain for another week or so. Head coach Joe Mazzulla still had All-Star Jaylen Brown, who finished with 32 points, 13 rebounds, and 9 assists.

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Boston played a grueling double overtime game late into the night on Sunday before quickly heading to Cleveland for today’s action. Between the two games Jaylen Brown played 91 minutes. a metric of how exhausting the last two evenings have been for Boston. Here’s what you may have missed from Monday’s result.

Boston choked away a win

The Celtics were in control for most of this game, with strong efforts up and down the roster. The bench played particularly well for Boston, giving Mazzulla’s club consistent time in the driver’s seat.


Things changed considerably in the fourth quarter, however. The Celtics offense became stagnant right as the Cavaliers found their collective footing. Cleveland outscored Boston 31-17 in the final period.

To make matters worse, Grant Williams missed two free throws with the game on the line and a chance to grab a victory. Crunch time execution was severely lacking for Boston on Monday night, costing the team what would have been a nice victory.

The 3s are here to stay


The Boston Celtics shoot a nearly identical number of 3-pointers in wins and in losses this season. When Celtics Wire asked coach Mazzulla about this last week, the coach casually suggested his team needed to shoot with more confidence. The shot selection wasn’t any worry for Mazzulla, as was the case Monday night in Cleveland.

The Celtics shot 48 3-point attempts in the game, connecting on 16 for 48 points. It gave Boston an obvious edge over the Cavs for most of the game. When the Celtics went cold, however, Boston was suddenly without answers.

It seems unlikely at this point that Boston is going to radically change its approach. The Celtics are going to live by the 3 and die by the 3, for better or for worse.

There's still plenty of basketball to play


The Celtics now sit 3 games back behind Milwaukee in the loss column, a crucial stat for determining the top seed in the Eastern Conference. If Boston is going to catch the red-hot Milwaukee Bucks, choking away otherwise easy wins probably isn’t acceptable. The two teams will be jockeying for the top seed in the Eastern Conference as the playoffs come into focus.

All the same, it’s still very much so the regular season. Boston is poised to make a deep run this spring, and taking a few lumps along the way is part of the process. Coach Mazzulla told reporters he has “zero” concerns about where his team is at.

There’s a lot of parity in the NBA right now, and that includes the Boston Celtics. An ugly win tonight may amplify some of the frustrations from this weekend, but there’s lots of basketball yet to be played.

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Story originally appeared on Celtics Wire