Thursday, July 18, 2024
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Celtics knocked down hard by Mavs

DALLAS (AP) – Jayson Tatum had his step-back three-pointer swatted away, then ended up in a heap on the floor and was called for a loose-ball foul.

It was that kind of night for Tatum and the Boston Celtics. They got knocked down hard in Game 4 of the NBA Finals when they had a chance to complete a sweep of the Dallas Mavericks.

Instead of wrapping up an unprecedented 18th NBA title, the Celtics suffered their worst loss ever in the NBA Finals – and one of the worst in league history – when they fell 122-84 on Friday night.

“It happened, we can’t change it. We had a bad night,” Tatum said. “We always say you lose by two or you lose by 30, they all count the same. We’re not making any excuses. We need to be better, and we will.”

The Celtics’ 10-game postseason winning streak, a franchise record, ended after they lost on the road for the first time in these playoffs. They had been 7-0, including a Game 3 win in Dallas after overcoming a 13-point deficit midway through the first quarter.

Now the Celtics will get a chance to clinch it at home.

Dallas already had a 26-point lead at half-time, and any thoughts of a rally by the Celtics were pretty much done less than two minutes into the second half when Tatum had his shot blocked by Daniel Gafford, with the Boston forward reaching out as he fell and getting whistled for the foul.

With the outcome already all but certain, coach Joe Mazzulla emptied his bench with 3:18 left in the third quarter. It was then a 36-point margin, and grew to as much as 48.

Tatum, who had 15 points and five rebounds, was on the bench with Jaylen Brown and the rest of the starters for the remainder of the night. And seven-foot-two centre Kristaps Porzingis never even removed his warm-ups after being declared available before the game.

Dallas Mavericks’ Daniel Gafford and Boston Celtics’ Jayson Tatum. PHOTO: AP
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