Historic Pelicans comeback highlights Celtics fourth-quarter woes

  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
Jacob Camenker
·2 min read
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.

Historic Pelicans comeback highlights Celtics fourth-quarter woes originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston

The Boston Celtics' loss to the New Orleans Pelicans wasn't just bad. It was historic.

The C's were up by 24 points in the second half of their 120-115 loss to the Pelicans. While that isn't the largest blown lead in the Celtics' history, the 24-point comeback is, officially, the largest in the history of the Pelicans.

The loss highlighted some of the larger problems that Boston has had in the second half of games this year. And particularly, it showcased that the fourth quarter has been a problem spot.

Celtics-Pelicans highlights: Tatum's heroics can't save C's

On the season, the team ranks 25th in the NBA in fourth quarter points per game with a mark of 26.1. If their defense was showing up in the fourth, the team may be able to survive this, but so far this year, the team has been outscored by an average of 1.8 points per game in the fourth quarter.

That was tied for dead last in the NBA even before the Pelicans outscored them by 13 on Sunday. And it's significantly worse than their average in all other quarters, as you can see in the table below.

Quarter

Differential

Rank

1

+0.3

13

2

+3

T-3

3

-0.3

T-16

4

-1.8

T-Last

This simply cannot continue if the Celtics want to consistently win. But in recent games, they haven't shown any ability to clean up their fourth-quarter woes.

In their last three contests, the Celtics have allowed a combined 102 points to teams in the fourth quarter and each team they've played has scored at least 32 points. Meanwhile, they've averaged significantly fewer points than their opponents during that span.

Average Last 3 Games

Celtics Q4 Points

25.7

Opponents Q4 Points

34

Variation

Double

Obviously, you can argue that they will improve when Marcus Smart comes back. Or when the team adds some help via the traded player exception they own.

But it's a troubling trend nonetheless and it's part of a season-long fourth-quarter funk the C's haven't been able to snap.

Tristan Thompson said it best. "We've got to close it out".

If the Celtics can't do that more consistently at some point, they're going to have a lot of trouble living up to the high expectations set for the team this year.