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3 key adjustments Celtics must make after losing Game 4 of 2022 NBA Finals to Warriors

Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown, Ime Udoka, Celtics

The Boston Celtics had a massive chance to put themselves up 3-1 on the Golden State Warriors in the NBA Finals on Friday, but they failed to get it done on home court. Now, the C’s head back to the Bay Area for a crucial Game 5 with the series tied 2-2. Between Steph Curry’s huge night and some late-game letdowns, it turned out to be a disappointing contest for the Beantown faithful.

Here are three adjustments they must make in Game 5 on Monday night.

3 Celtics adjustments for Game 5 of NBA Finals

Finish strong

The Celtics led for essentially this entire game until late in the fourth quarter. With 7:32 remaining in the final period, Marcus Smart put Boston up 91-86. Unfortunately, from that point on, the C’s went absolutely cold. They scored just six points after Smart’s free throw. The worst part is that Udoka’s squad was getting countless good looks, especially from deep. Al Horford, Jaylen Brown, Jayson Tatum, and Derrick White just couldn’t convert. The off-ball actions worked perfectly to free up shooters. The Celtics just failed to deliver when it mattered most.

However, Boston has typically dominated the fourth in this series. They’ve outscored the Dubs in every single game thus far except for Friday, where Steph Curry torched them in crunch time. That being said, missing so many clean looks is not a recipe for success. Contested threes because of good defense? Sure, that’s totally fine. But when the Celtics are freeing themselves up and then missing triples they’d take in practice, it’s not ideal. Tatum and Brown in particular need to clutch up when the pressure is on.

Be more aggressive

Yes, the Celtics faltered in the fourth. But they also lacked aggression, resorting far too much to the three-pointer. In fact, Boston attempted only one shot in the paint during the last 7:30 minutes of the final quarter. This once again comes back to Tatum and Brown. Both guys are tone-setters for the C’s.

The three-ball was working well throughout the contest, but considering the Celtics were only down by a few points, might as well get downhill, draw contact, and try to do some damage down low. To put that into perspective, the team didn’t attempt a single free-throw after Smart’s last basket. Boston just settled for shooting the ball and the Dubs knew it. Sometimes it took just one extra pass to free up a cutter. It’s clear the long range jumper is typically a recipe for success, but in this instant, the Celtics needed to make an adjustment and attack.

Take better care of the basketball

Mistakes seriously hurt the Celtics in Game 4. Tatum and Co. committed 16 turnovers which Golden State translated into 19 points. In fact, Boston is 1-6 in the postseason when they cough it up 16 or more times. 15 or fewer? A 13-2 record. Tatum, who criticized his own play after the loss, had six turnovers on his own. At this stage, the C’s can’t be turning the ball over at this rate. The Dubs are far too good of a team to not capitalize, especially when Steph Curry is playing at such a high level. Sure, the Warriors played respectable defense, but Boston has themselves to thank for a lot of these mishaps. They were too sloppy at times with the rock.

The Celtics will be looking to bounce back with authority on Monday night.