After taking home Games 2 and 3 of their series against the Philadelphia 76ers, the Boston Celtics walked into Wells Fargo Center on Sunday afternoon with high hopes. They had a chance to take a 3-1 series lead and put a ton of pressure on the 76ers.
Instead, they failed.
In the first half, their offense faltered, and even after making an impressive comeback, the Celtics dropped the ball on the last two possessions of overtime. They allowed James Harden to nail the go-ahead three because Jaylen Brown chose to double-team Joel Embiid in the post.
However, Marcus Smart said he’s fine with the read Brown made.
“It’s complicated. They do a good job of putting guys in certain situations. And it is a read. JB made a read. They made a better read. And that’s just all it is,” Smart said. “I’m always living with JB making a read [on] what he feels comfortable with in his gut. He’s been doing great all series. This time, they made a better red, and we paid for it.”
With the clock ticking down, Philadelphia was down by two points, and Embiid had the ball in the post. However, instead of letting Al Horford cover Embiid one-on-one, Brown drifted off of Harden, who had 39 points at the time, and double-teamed Embiid.
Embiid kicked the ball out to Harden in the corner, who nailed a three-point shot to put the 76ers up by one point. If Brown had stuck to Harden, the worst Embiid could have done was tie the game with a two-pointer.
Despite that, Smart wasn’t upset with the choice. He backed up his teammate post-game, and now, the Celtics are looking ahead to Game 5.
Magic Johnson Comments on Joe Mazzulla’s Mistake in Celtics-Sixers Game 4
Brown’s decision to leave Harden open in the corner and double-team Embiid wasn’t the only mistake the Celtics made in the final minutes of the game. On the following offensive possession, with a chance to win the game, they also came up short.
Jayson Tatum got into the action too late, and although Smart nailed the go-ahead three, it was too late, giving the Sixers the win. After the game, NBA Hall-of-Famer tweeted that Joe Mazzulla made a mistake by not calling a timeout to get his team organized.
“I thought Celtic’s Head Coach Mazzulla made a mistake not calling a timeout and setting up a play in the final seconds of the game,” Johnson tweeted.
Doc Rivers Complains About Jayson Tatum After Celtics-Sixers Game 4
Meanwhile, 76ers head coach Doc Rivers complained that Tatum wasn’t called for a push-off on one of his threes in the overtime period.
“Jayson Tatum’s three, was awful that wasn’t called, awful,” Rivers said. “It was a push off. And the reason that it bugged me, was at the end of the game, there was these touch fouls. Jayson Tatum has a 360 foul. Marcus Smart gets tangled up, touch foul. So, if we’re gonna call it that way, then you have to call that. To me, you gotta call that play. I know it’s a big play, and I’m a big fan of refs not deciding [the game], but that could have decided the game.”