Things just got really, really uncomfortable for the Celtics


Spin it however you want.

Maybe the Celtics wanted to atone for those .5 seconds from the Game 3 loss a bit too much.

“I don’t feel like it was a hangover from being around these guys the last two days,” Celtics coach Brad Stevens said Saturday might. “They’ve been in great spirits, and I think they were really ready to play. Maybe even anxious to play. We’ve got a lot of competitive tough guys in there. We’ll play better.”

Or perhaps it was just one those nights. Really good players do, after all, sometimes have really bad games.

“I’ve gotta knock down shots, period,” noted Jaylen Brown. “It’s the playoffs. Everybody knows it’s the playoffs. It’s time to play, that’s it. Ain’t really too much more talking that needs to be done.”

Whatever the case, this has gotten really out-of-nowhere uneasy for the Celtics.

Stevens' team now finds itself locked up in a 2-2 series tie with the world-champion Raptors after a 100-93 loss to Toronto. If you're a Celtics fan this has been an unwelcome turn of events that should have people wondering if that Kyle Lowry pass over Tacko Fall may be viewed through a Buckner-esque prism. (For a complete box score, click here.)

The loss was one thing, how the Celtics landed with their second straight defeat was another.

There wasn't a whole lot of good to come out of the 48 minutes, with Brown serving as the not-so-shining example of the struggles.

One of the three straws that usually stir the Celtics' drink was really bad two days after admirably taking some f-bomb blame minutes after not preventing OB Anunoby's game-winning three-pointer. Brown missed his first nine 3-point attempts on his way to shooting 4-for-18 from the floor.

Brown wasn't alone in bringing the Celtics down. Jayson Tatum, Kemba Walker and Marcus Smart all combined to make just three of their 18 3-point attempts, as well.

And while it would have been easy to blame the lack of options the Celtics have when it comes to picking up the key players during their time of need, this series has become all about the go-to guys.

Each team had three players clock 40 minutes or more, while Brown only didn't reach the mark (playing 37 minutes) because of his unpalatable performance.

The feeling heading into Game 5 is that the Raptors are doing what many who root for the Celtics were hoping wouldn't surface. Nick Nurse has started to out-coach Stevens (starting with that last play in Game 3), Pascal Siakam and Serge Ibaka (7-for-9 from the floor) are offering difficult matchups, and Kyle Lowry is enacting his will on the outcome of these games.

Nobody said it was going to be easy, but up until Thursday night very few believed it going to be remotely this difficult.

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