SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — The Boston Celtics couldn’t make a 3-pointer to start the game and found themselves in a deep hole. Then they couldn’t miss and turned the game around.
But when outside shooting failed on the track, the Celtics had no answer against the Golden State Warriors and are now heading home on the brink of elimination after a 104-94 loss in Game 5 of Monday night’s NBA Finals.
The Celtics went on a rollercoaster ride in outside shooting never seen before in the NBA Finals, becoming the first team to miss their first 12 shots from long range and then the first team to turn 3 shots into eight in a row, according to Elias Sports Bureau.
They then missed seven down the line and return home for Game 6 on Thursday night after the first straight losses this postseason. The Celtics will be looking to turn things around and force a crucial game seven in San Francisco on Sunday but need a lot more consistency from 3.
The scoreboard reflected Boston’s outside shooting as the Celtics fell 16 points early when they couldn’t make a 3 and then turned things around after Jayson Tatum and Al Horford hit back-to-back 3-pointers midway through the third quarter.
Marcus Smart added another and then Boston made their first five 3-pointers in the third quarter – including three from Tatum – to lead 66-61 after a three-point play by Grant Williams.
The Celtics then missed their next seven from afar, with the deciding point coming late in the third quarter when Jaylen Brown missed a pull-up with 6 seconds left and Boston was slow to get back on defense, resulting in a buzzer-beater by 3 by Jordan Poole, who gave Golden State the lead.
Boston’s frustration boiled over early in the fourth quarter when Klay Thompson hit a 3-pointer in a game the Celtics wanted a push-off called. Coach Ime Udoka, who suffered an early technical error, got hot during a hiatus with the official Tony Brothers and it just built from there.
Smart was called for a technical foul of his own on next possession and then for an offensive foul on the inbound pass and a game warning delay. Poole made a basket at the other end and Boston’s five points from the third quarter turned into an 85-74 deficit.
By the time Tatum broke the late-game cold spell, it was far too late for the Celtics, who spent much of the fourth quarter complaining.
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