Poor late game execution costs Celtics in 105-104 loss to Thunder

Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

By Tristan Deschenes, 98.5 The Sports Hub

Oklahoma City stole one from Boston at the TD Garden on Sunday night, defeating the Celtics 105-104.

The C's added another loss to what has been a tough stretch for the Green, they have now lost four of their last five games and this was another one that they should have had.

Similar to the game against the Nets, Boston had the lead late and somehow let it slip away. The Celtics took a 104-103 lead with 40.8 seconds left after Jayson Tatum made a great block and save, which led to his own fast break layup.

After Steven Adams missed two free throws, Chris Paul snaked his way into the paint and was able to recover the offensive rebound, but they could not convert on the extra possession. It looked like the Celtics had it wrapped up, simply inbound the ball and make your free throws.

Mar 8, 2020; Boston, Massachusetts, USA; Boston Celtics forward Gordon Hayward (20) saves the ball from going out of bounds during the first half against Oklahoma City Thunder at TD Garden. Mandatory Credit: Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 8, 2020; Boston, Massachusetts, USA; Boston Celtics forward Gordon Hayward (20) saves the ball from going out of bounds during the first half against Oklahoma City Thunder at TD Garden. Mandatory Credit: Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

However like the game against the Nets, the Celtics could not execute. Boston inbounded the ball to Kemba Walker who started dribbling back towards his own basket. Walker then attempted a behind the back dribble, but OKC guard Dennis Schroder came over to double team Walker, Schroder stole the ball, and converted on the layup to give the Thunder a 105-104 lead.

On the other end, the Green went to their man, but Tatum came up just short on the fall away jumper to win the game.

This is the second time during this losing stretch where the Celtics could not execute in late game situations, something that is certainly concerning moving forward into the playoffs.

The C’s were led by Gordon Hayward, who scored 24 points. Tatum scored 19 points but struggled shooting the ball, going only 8-of-22 from the field. Marcus Smart also scored 19 points and added 10 rebounds.

Oklahoma City was led by their two point guards. Chris Paul was dominant in this one scoring 28 points and making many big plays down the stretch for the Thunder, including great defense on Tatum on the final play of the game. Dennis Schroder gave the Thunder a huge lift off the bench, scoring 27 points.

Up Next: Boston will travel to Indiana to face the Pacers on Tuesday night.