The Boston Celtics were once again outdone and outhustled by a non-playoff team, as they squandered a five-point lead with less than three minutes left and lost to the lowly Charlotte Hornets 124-117.
The Celtics have now lost three straight games and are one-and-a-half games behind the Indiana Pacers for the fourth spot in the Eastern Conference. Boston had multiple chances to put away Charlotte for good, but they weren't able to capitalize on them and instead allowed a complete meltdown in the final minutes of the game.
Kyrie Irving was once again critical of his teammates following the loss, saying they need to be more mature in close games in order to win.
What do you talk about after a game like this one? Kyrie Irving: “Being more mature down the stretch.”
— Boston.com Celtics News (@BDCCeltics) March 24, 2019
Kyrie Irving is once again showing frustrations towards his teammates, but it is important for him to do so, especially since the Celtics are aiming for a title win this season. While their regular season performance is nothing short of underwhelming, the team believes they can turn things around in the playoffs. However, they can't do that if they continue to allow themselves to execute poorly during crucial situations.
Against the Hornets, the Celtics' perimeter defense was terrible, as they allowed All-Star guard Kemba Walker to have a field day from behind the arc. Walker hit three 3-pointers in the final three minutes of play, which turned their 112-99 lead into a 118-117 deficit in the final seconds of the game.
If Boston is to win a title, or even make a deep run in the playoffs, they will need to be more consistent on both ends of the floor. They haven't shown the capability to do that during the regular season, which is a major cause for concern heading into the playoffs.