The Boston Celtics blew an opportunity to go up 3-1 over the Philadelphia 76ers when they lost Game 4 of the Eastern Conference semifinals on Sunday.
They rallied from a double-digit deficit to force overtime, and on the final play, trailing by one, Marcus Smart hit a 3-pointer — but he released the basketball just after time expired.
Boston didn’t call a timeout before their final possession, and Jayson Tatum said that they’ve decided not to do so in last-shot situations last season.
"We got a good core group of guys that know how to play under pressure."
Jayson Tatum on Joe Mazzulla's decision to not call timeout for final play pic.twitter.com/Is8oPJMmZI
— Celtics on NBC Sports Boston (@NBCSCeltics) May 7, 2023
Traditionally, NBA teams will call a timeout before a game-winning attempt, but occasionally, a coach will simply elect to play on and hope to possibly catch the other team unprepared defensively.
Boston went up 105-100 with just over two minutes left in regulation when Malcolm Brogdon hit a 3-pointer, but they missed their last two shots in regulation while James Harden scored the bucket that tied the game.
In overtime, the Celtics went up by three, then found themselves with a two-point lead when Tatum knocked down a 3-pointer with 38.1 seconds left.
But on this day, Harden turned out to be the hero, as he hit his own 3-pointer with 19.0 seconds remaining, giving him 42 points.
It was a repeat of his Game 1 performance when he scored 45 points and the decisive 3-pointer to give Philly a 119-115 win without Joel Embiid, who was out with a knee injury.
Now the two teams are tied at two wins apiece, and this series could end up living up to some of the storied Boston-Philly playoff matchups of yesteryear.NEXT: Jaylen Brown Makes His Thoughts Clear After Game 4 Loss