DALLAS — On Friday night, the Boston Celtics were hoping to earn a sweep in the NBA Finals for just the 10th time in league history. The Dallas Mavericks responded by not only forcing a Game 5, but doing so in dominant fashion via a 122-84 blowout victory.

Boston's final point total was its lowest of the 2023-24 season and the embarrassing loss snapped a 10-game winning streak. Although the Celtics still lead the series 3-1, they know they still need to play with the utmost intensity to close things out.

“We learn from it. We take it. We don't dismiss it,” Celtics star Jaylen Brown said after the defeat. “We're going to learn from it. We're going to see how and why, exactly where the game was won and lost. And then we take those experiences and then we come out and we play like our life depends on it. Because it does.”

Brown, who's currently the longest-tenured player on the C's, has become a vocal leader over the years. He'll try and refocus his squad ahead of Game 5 on Monday evening, which presents the Celtics with another opportunity to win their first championship in over 15 years.

“It's going to be hard to do what we're trying to do,” he admitted. “We didn't expect anything to be easy, but it's no reason to lose our head.”

How the rest of the Celtics reacted to the Game 4 beatdown

Boston Celtics forward Jayson Tatum (0) drives to the basket against Dallas Mavericks guard Kyrie Irving (11) during the second quarter during game four of the 2024 NBA Finals at American Airlines Center.
Peter Casey-USA TODAY Sports

Every player reacts to losing differently, but just about every Celtic realized they were thoroughly outplayed in Game 4.

When guard Derrick White was asked to sum up the beatdown he had a straightforward response:

“A simple way: an ass kicking. That’s the simplest way right there.”

Veteran center Al Horford acknowledged the C's could've played much better and he understands that they'll have to make the necessary adjustments to curb Dallas' comeback.

“We've had the first three games, we didn't really make any adjustments,” he stated. “So today, they did something. We have to see what we can—how we can be better and prepare for it. That's kind of where we're at right now. But, you know, it's the playoffs, and, you know, they are fighting for their lives, and they played better than us.”

Guard Jrue Holiday, who has the most championship experience on Boston's roster, agreed with Brown that every Celtic is going to have to play like they're down in the series rather than up 3-1.

“Credit to Dallas. They played extremely hard,” he said. “They played desperate, and we've got to do the same.”

The Celtics arguably played their worst game of the entire season on Friday. They were outrebounded, had more turnovers, and shot just 36.3% from the field. All of this contributed to a 38-point drubbing, the worst margin of defeat Boston has ever suffered in the NBA Finals.

“If you don't run back on defense, you can't win. If you don't rebound, you can't win. If you don't execute, you can't win,” Celtics head coach Joe Mazzulla emphasized in his postgame remarks. “The process towards winning remains the same. We just have to hammer that home and for however long it takes, stick to that process.”

Celtics star Jayson Tatum knows no lead is safe in today's league. That being said, he wasn't hanging his head following the disappointment of Game 4.

“They played well tonight and we didn't,” he said. “We had the right mindset and right intentions. We wanted to come out and play super well and win, but it just didn't go that way tonight. But, you know, we are fortunate. We get another opportunity on Monday.”

Boston now has a chance to clinch a title on the parquet in Game 5. Given that the Celtics haven't been this close to a title in over a decade, he believes the TD Garden crowd will be in a frenzy.

“I think it's going to be as loud as it's ever been, in my seven years of being a Celtic,” he predicted. “Excited to go back home. Celebrate Father's Day on Sunday and compete for a championship on Monday. So it should be a lot of fun.”

Regardless of how each Celtic views Game 4, they're all aware of what's at stake. They could either walk away as champions on Monday or need to take a rough flight back to Dallas.