Celtics lack ‘finish’ in Game 5 as Hawks stay alive

Celtics lack 'finish' in Game 5 as Hawks stay alive

BOSTON — As the fourth quarter began Tuesday night inside TD Garden, it looked like the Boston Celtics were going to punch their tickets to the next playoff round.

But after 12 game minutes, those tickets remained unpunched.

“We had a tremendous opportunity,” Celtics star Jaylen Brown said of trying to close out his team’s first-round series in Tuesday’s Game 5. Performance in the Fourth Quarter.”

After Boston led the visiting Atlanta Hawks by 13 points early in the fourth quarter, Atlanta’s clutch-performing point guard Young took over. He scored the Hawks’ last 14 points, including the game-winning 30-foot dagger over Brown with 2.1 seconds left in a 119-117 win.

Asked if Boston took its collective foot off the gas after taking such a big lead in the final period, Brown admitted that it might have.

“I guess you could say that,” Brown said. “We made some boneheaded plays, some fouls. We gave them some chances to get going. We just have to finish the game.

“We let the game get away from us a little bit, and they just hit shot after shot down the line. When you give a team life, you give them a chance, and that’s what we did.”

Young’s made basket allowed a seemingly overmatched Hawks team, playing without suspended All-Star Dejonte Murray, to push it back to Game 6 Thursday night in Atlanta. Now that his one-match suspension is complete, Murray will rejoin the team for the rest of the series.

“I FaceTimed him as soon as I got to the locker room,” Young said. “I told him ‘get ready.’ I told him before the game that we would take care of business so he could play in Atlanta.”

Murray was suspended for the game after making contact with an official in Sunday’s Game 4. Murray’s absence allowed the Celtics to enter the game as 12.5-point favorites, making for the largest spread of any playoff game. Postseason

“We didn’t talk about it. We focused on ourselves,” Hawks coach Quin Snyder said of being declared the pregame underdog. “If we look to outside things as our source of inspiration, I don’t think you’re going to win. So I understand that. People make rational choices, but that doesn’t mean we have to listen to them. We just have to compete, we just to play.”

Hours before Game 5, Murray told reporters at Atlanta’s shootaround that “a lot” led up to the incident involving him and referee Gediminas Patritis. Some of that includes a history of feeling disrespected by an official in the years before Murray was traded to the Hawks, Murray said.

“At the end of the day, I think, I don’t think I should be suspended,” Murray said. “(But) I’m a grown man, and I hold myself back and I take full responsibility for not being able to play for my teammates and the fans and the organization as a whole.”

Atlanta’s win marred Brown’s strong offensive performance. He had a team-high 35 points, trailing only Young, who had 38. It was the fourth time in Brown’s postseason career that the Celtics lost a game in which he scored 34 or more points.

When the night began, Brown — in a black mask he wore to protect a healing cheekbone — looked unstoppable, going 5-for-5 from the field in an early stretch that included a step-back 3. .

Brown’s performance came after a 31-point performance in Game 4. All but two of those points came after Brown took off the mask he had been wearing after suffering a facial fracture in a Feb. 8 game against the Philadelphia 76ers.

“Maybe it was all in my head,” Brown said after Game 4, “but I just needed a different look.”

Fellow Celtics All-Star Jayson Tatum added 19 points Tuesday, many of which came in the second half. He struggled mightily offensively in the first half, going 1-for-5 from the field in the first quarter. Tatum missed his first five 3s before breaking a 15-second drought in the second half.

“They’re a really talented team, a well-coached team,” Tatum said of the Hawks. “And they’ve got a lot of pride. So I knew it wasn’t going to be easy.”

Added Brown, an Atlanta-area native who hoped to avoid another in-season trip home: “All you can say is get ready for the next one.”

The winner of the series advances to the Eastern Conference semifinals, with a matchup against the 76ers starting Monday.

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