Celtics show cracks in Game 4 win

    The Celtics have more to worry than celebrate about following their uneven Game 4 win over the Cavaliers.

    Without Donovan Mitchell (calf) and Jarrett Allen (rib), arguably Cleveland’s two best players, the Cavaliers battled toe-to-toe with the Celtics in Boston’s 109-102 win.

    This was a game the Celtics should have turned into a laugher the same way the Pacers did Game 4 of their best-of-seven series with the injury-plagued Knicks on Sunday. Instead, Boston allowed Cleveland to stay in the game and have a chance to pull off the upset late.

    Boston was outscored 24-21 in the fourth quarter as the offense stalled, which is a feature, not a bug, of its season.

    The Celtics finished second in scoring (120.6 points per game) during the regular season but were just 14th in scoring in the fourth quarter (27.8 points per game), according to StatMuse.

    The offense devolves into stars Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown bailing the team out with attempts late in the shot clock, which doesn’t bode well for the team’s championship aspirations.

    Tatum and Brown should have enough to close out the Cavaliers, while a one-legged Knicks team or inexperienced Pacers squad await in a potential Eastern Conference Finals matchup.

    As The Ringer’s Kevin O’Connor noted before Game 4, the red carpet couldn’t be laid out nicer for the Celtics to get to the NBA Finals. 

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