Celtics All-Star Shoulders Blame for Fourth-Quarter Collapse

Getty Images Jaylen Brown of the Celtics

ATLANTA — Jaylen Brown and the Boston Celtics had been there before, countless times this season, and entering the fourth quarter Friday night against the Atlanta Hawks at State Farm arena was no different.

The Celtics, down but far from out, entered the final frame trailing their opponent by three points before a monumental collapse resulted in a 108-92 loss. The Hawks, winning six consecutive games, went on an 18-2 run. Bogdan Bogdanovic scored ten fourth-quarter points while the Celtics surrendered costly turnovers and sparked Atlanta’s fast-break.

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Jaylen Brown: ‘We Didn’t Deserve to Win That Game’

John Collins and Trae Young scored a team-high 21 points, and Brown led the Celtics with 26.

“We didn’t deserve to win that game,” Brown said after Friday’s loss. “We played well in stretches, but I turned the ball over too much, we turned the ball over too much — that’s what cost us the game.”

Celtics head coach Ime Udoka didn’t love his team’s shot selection down the stretch — where they elected to take jumpers over driving to the rim and finding a high-percentage shot.

Jaylen Brown on Celtics’ 16 Turnovers: ‘That’s My Fault’

However, Boston connected on only 19.4% of its 3-pointers and finished the night 7-for-36.

“I give Atlanta credit. They did a good job of being active and having active hands,” Brown added. “We just have to make better reads; I have to make better reads. We have to be more aggressive. I was probably shooting when I was supposed to pass and passing when I was supposed to be shoot; Atlanta did a good job of keeping me on my toes. But, just overall, tonight’s game; just too many turnovers, and that’s my fault.”

The Hawks coerced the Celtics into 16 turnovers. Brown finished with a team-high seven, while Jayson Tatum committed five.

“I guess you can say execution, offensively, hasn’t been great, really all season,” Brown said. “So, at times, and when hit those moments of adversity in the fourth quarter and when we tend to show what we’ve been in those moments, and we haven’t been very good in the fourth quarter. And, that translates from everything; execution from top to bottom, and it just hasn’t been great this year, especially in those moments. We’ve lost too many games on the line. Now, we’ve learned in those moments, but we’ve got to definitely do something different.”

Udoka addressed the turnovers but gave less credit to Atlanta’s defense.

“The turnovers, a lot of them were self-inflicted,” Udoka said after Friday’s game. “Either playing in a crowd, and I think everyone was a victim of that. Not just him and him being home. But, I think JT had five, and just in general, I felt like we were not finding our outlets like we had been in the previous games.”

The Celtics will look to turn things around in New Orleans when they take on the Pelicans Saturday night on the second leg of a back-to-back.